SC rejects bail plea of chicken thief

Top court acquits two men of murder charge after over a decade

Our Correspondent March 05, 2019
Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The top court on Monday rejected a bail application filed by Muhammad Zahid who has been imprisoned on charges of stealing chickens.

This was ordered by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by Justice Azmat Saeed.

During Monday’s hearing, the investigation officer told the court that a truckload of household goods had been recovered from Zahid's house during a raid.

At this, Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked that there was only news about hens being stolen.

Islamabad Advocate General, who argued against granting bail to the defendant, told the court that Zahid has been convicted in four other cases as well.

He added that apart from the hens, other stolen items such as dispensers, televisions, computers, laptops, jewellery and burglary tools were recovered from him.

The court then asked the suspect about his occupation. The suspect’s counsel told the court that he was a labourer.

The court then asked whether the police had any enmity with the accused due to which his name could have made its way to a first information report (FIR) without substantial proof?

Zahid’s counsel was further asked by the bench whether the police had bought all these items from the market and had kept them in Zahid’s house to allegedly frame him.

Justice Isa said that the people were astonished to read about a man stealing hens in the newspapers while the reality turned out to be quite different once the case made it to court.

The SC sent the case back to the trial court with directives to reach a decision within three months.

Zahid has been in jail for the past ten months on allegations of stealing hens while the public had criticized the court for imprisoning a ‘chicken thief’ on social media.

Two acquitted after a decade

Owing to contradicting testimonies, the apex court on Monday acquitted two suspects of murder case after 12 years.

This was decided by a three-member bench of the SC, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, heard appeals filed by Abdullah Nasir and Tahir Abdullah.

During Monday’s hearing, CJP Khosa remarked that it was astonishing to see the plentiful lies in the testimony of witness Abdul Majeed and warned of serious action against him.

The two suspects were accused of murdering Saddiq in 2007 whereas Abdul Majeed was injured in the incident. A trial court had handed Nasir and Tahir capital punishments for allegedly murdering Saddiq. The high court had converted the death penalty into life imprisonment.

The court remarked that according to the Majeed, he lay on the floor injured for 30 minutes. This, the court noted, was hard to digest.

The court added that Majeed had presented a different statement before the court wherein the court was told that the dispute was rooted in differences over ownership of land while the records told a different story.

The apex court gave the suspects the benefit of the doubt and acquitted them.

Acquittal plea rejected

A three-member-bench of the apex court, headed by CJP Khosa, has rejected the acquittal plea of Captain (retired) Ismail Pervaiz Minhas.

Capt Minhas is accused of murdering Major Faisla and Major Kashif in Rawalpindi. They had been booked in a case filed at the Civil Lines police station. The trial court had sentenced him to death, a sentence which was later upheld by the high court.

During Monday’s hearing, CJP Khosa remarked that the convict used to live on rent in the house of the victims.

When shifting from the property, he called the victims to review it ahead of clearing his departure. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2019.


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