Lack of evidence: Court acquits five policemen in ‘fake’ encounter case

Judge says contradictions found in statements by prosecution witnesses.


Our Correspondent April 08, 2017
PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: lA court acquitted five police officers accused of killing a man over four years ago in a ‘fake encounter’ after the prosecution failed to establish the shootout was ‘staged’.

In October 22, 2012, a private complaint was filed against SHO Munawar Dogar, constables Ramzan, Yaseen, Nasir and Nazim Iqbal for killing a man named Sarfaraz.

Petitioner Allah Rakha then approached the Lahore High Court, which directed the police to register an FIR against the accused. While the FIR was registered on the LHC’s direction, the petitioner alleged the police did not narrate the actual story and defended the accused.

Their counsel told the court the story narrated in the FIR as well as in the private complaint was false, fabricated, manoeuvred and concocted. The accused cops have nothing to do with the case in reality, he contended.

Prosecution witnesses were also summoned for testifying. The petitioner’s counsel claimed the policemen killed Sarfaraz and there was no reason for him to falsely implicate them in the case.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff along with his son Sarfaraz, Sajid Ali and Latif were sitting inside their house when the named policeman barged inside and shot dead his son. Later, the police painted the incident as an ‘encounter’ and registered FIR against Allah Rakha as well as another man named Kashif.

After hearing arguments in detail, an additional district and sessions judge acquitted the policemen. The order mentioned that contradictions were found in the statements by prosecution witnesses.

The most important one was quoted as from Allah Rakha himself and Sajid Ali, who stated they were eyewitnesses of the incident.

Allah Rakha mentioned his address of Ihsan Block, Nishtar Colony. During cross examination, he said he did not even know the names of the people living in the next house. Also, the witnesses mentioned Sarfaraz suffered an injury on right side of the abdomen and his right flank, but post-mortem report stated there was no such injury.

A judicial inquiry had already declared the police officers innocent and the complainant’s version ‘false’. The accused were out on bail.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2017.

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