GUJRANWALA: The four men accused of murdering former SSP Ashraf Marth and his driver Tabassum Zameer were acquitted by the Anti- Terrorism Court on Thursday.
Marth was assassinated on May 6, 1997. Justice Rana Nisar Ahmed announced the verdict at Central Jail and acquitted the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi activists Abu Bakr, Aziz alias Chotta Usman, Ghulam Rasool and Hafiz Abdul Haq. He stated that the statement of the three prosecution witnesses had failed to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The court heard the testimonies of assistant subinspector (ASI) Mohammed Akram, Mohammed Hanif and Mohammed Naveed who recanted statements made earlier to police officials.
Raiz Basra the chief of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was also accused of planning the SSP’s assassination. Basra was gunned down on May 14, 1997 in an encounter in Vehari. Marth was married to Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s sister and was the brotherin- law of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Police sources have credited their understanding of the network of the splinter group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the subsequent arrest of some of the most wanted militants to Ashraf Marth. He was posthumously honoured by the government of Pakistan for his services to the country.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 21st, 2010.