Court tells lawyer to approach AG office to arrange meeting of Uzair with family

Another bench declines to suspend death sentences of Safoora Goth accused

Our Correspondent February 12, 2019
Another bench declines to suspend death sentences of Safoora Goth accused. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Monday the defence lawyer to approach the Attorney-General's office in writing to help arrange the meeting of family members with accused Uzair Baloch.

A two-member bench of the SHC comprising Aftab Ahmad Gorar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito gave these directions to Advocate Shaukat Hayat while hearing a plea filed by Uzair's mother, Razia Begum, for his production before the trial court.

Deputy Attorney-General informed the court when the family files application for meeting, it would be forwarded to authorities concerned and then the family's meeting with Uzair Baloch would be arranged.

Counsel of the petitioner told the court that that Uzair was arrested long ago but the proceedings of his trial haven't started yet. He said that as per law, trial must begin within six months after arrest of the accused.

The court ordered that new a plea should be filed about the delay in the trial proceedings. The court, later, adjourned the hearing till February 27.

Razia Begum in her petition maintained that her son was picked up by law enforcement agencies in January 2016 and has been in their custody since. She said Baloch was booked and charged in 40 cases of terrorism which are pending in the anti-terrorism courts.

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According to her, Balcoh was shifted from Central Jail on April 12, 2018 to some unknown destination and since then he has not been produced before the court.

The petitioner added that the trial court is neither proceeding with the cases against Baloch nor was it issuing any order to the jail authorities for his production. She said that family members were also not being allowed to meet him and as he was being kept at an undisclosed location.

Safoora Goth case

The same bench declined to stay the execution of death sentences awarded by a military court to the accused of Safoora Goth carnage saying it will consider the matter after the Supreme Court's decision is announced in the case.

The bench was hearing the appeals seeking revoking of death sentence awarded to five accused -- Saad Aziz, Tahir Minhas, Azhar Ishrat, Hafiz Nasir and Asad-u-Rehman -- by military court in Safoora Goth bus killings.

At least 45 people were killed when terrorists targeted a bus carrying 60 members of the Ismaili community on May 13, 2015.

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While the prosecutor maintained that the petition was not maintainable for hearing, the counsel for the accused maintained that despite repeated notices issued by the court, the parties did not submit any response. He said that Lahore High Court (LHC) and SC had earlier given verdicts against sentences awarded by the military courts.

The court remarked that they were 2017 judgments and questioned what happened next.

After the counsel for maintained that that a petition against the punishments was pending before the SC, the bench remarked that the sentences could not be suspended and the court would look into the matter after the SC verdict.

Advocate Habib however asked who would be responsible if the sentences are executed and said that there were cases earlier when the accused were sentenced while their appeals were pending before superior courts.

According to the prosecutor, the military court had announced sentences in criminal offence. An appeal against the military court judgment can be filed at the Supreme Court.

The petitions filed by the accused maintain that the military court had awarded death sentence to the petitioners in several charges and the details of the cases had not been shared with the families of the accused. They prayed to court that a meeting of the family be arranged with the accused and execution of the punishment be stayed and they be allowed to file appeals in light of the SC verdicts.

Hearing adjourned

Hearing an appeal by two of the accused of Safoora Goth killings in another case, the bench directed the prosecutor to submit paper file and adjourned the hearing till March 28.

According to the police, the accused had made a cracker attack at a police van on November 10, 2016 on M.A. Jinnah Road injuring Sesal Aijaz and killing head constable Muhammad.

An anti-terrorism court had awarded life imprisonment to both the accused.

Appeal against life term

Another bench of the high court comprising Justice Naimatullah Phalpeto and Justice KK Agha adjourned the hearing of an appeal filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's (MQM-P), Saeed Bharam, who had been sentenced on the charges of killing of MQM-Haqeeqi worker, Syed Abrar Hussain. by an anti-terrorism court.

The counsel for convict, Khwaja Naveed, sought time to present his arguments. The court adjourned the hearing of the appeal till March 28. According to police, the confessional statement of Saeed has already been submitted in the court in which he had confessed the killing. He had also claimed MQM's Nadeem Nusrat, Farooq Sattar, Waseem Akhtar, Haider Abbas Rizvi, Muhammad Anwar and others issued directives for the terrorist activity.

According to Rangers prosecutor, a special anti-terrorism court had awarded life term to Saeed Bharam. There were concrete evidences against the accused, hence the punishment should be maintained. "We want severe punishment be served to the suspect," said the prosecutor. The murder case was registered on Oct 1, 2009 at Nabi Bux police station. The suspect Saeed alias Bharam had murdered MQM-Haqeeqi worker, Syed Abrar Hussain.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2019.


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