HYDERABAD: The Sindh High Court (SHC) rejected on Thursday the bail pleas of Muhammad Hanif Bhutto and Mushtaq Mahar, two suspected murderers of Khalid Mehmood Soomro who was the provincial head of the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F).
Taking notice of the delay in investigations, the SHC also directed the anti-terrorism court (ATC) concerned to conclude the trial within three months.
Soomro was shot dead in a targeted attack on November 29, 2014. He was offering morning prayers at a seminary in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Society in Sukkur when two unidentified assailants entered the mosque and killed him.
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During Thursday’s proceedings, Advocate Athar Abbass Solangi, who represented Soomro’s family, objected to the bail plea. He apprised the SHC that during the last three years, the testimony of only one witness had been recorded.
“This is a high-profile case but its court hearings are progressing too slowly,” Solangi contended, claiming that the suspects were involved in the murder of the JUI-F Sindh chief. The SHC asked the additional advocate-general to explain the reason for the delay. However, his reply did not satisfy the court. The SHC directed the ATC to conclude the trial within three months.
Bhutto and Mahar, along with four other suspects, were arrested by the police after multiple raids were conducted following the killing. Since then, the JUI-F has been organising protests, rallies and strikes to exert pressure on the provincial government to expedite the investigation and trial of the case. The party has also been demanding that the case be transferred to a military court.