SC reserves verdict on ex-judge’s appeal

Judge in parliament attack case transferred

Our Correspondent May 09, 2019
Judgment in murder appeal may set precedent for future handling of eyewitness testimony. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The apex court on Wednesday reserved its verdict over a petition filed by a former district and sessions judge against his conviction in assaulting a 10-year-old child maid after lawyers’ from both sides completed their arguments.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by Justice Muhseer Alam, reserved the verdict.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Islamabad Advocate General (IAG) told the court that the child maid’s hands were found to be burnt over a stove according to neighbours while the victim’s statement also corroborated this.

He told the court that convicts, former district and sessions judge Raja Khurram Ali Khan and his wife Maheen Zafar, had hidden the victim and instead registered a missing person report with the police when her photos went viral on social media.

The IAG went on to say that the girl was later recovered from judge’s house where she got all her bruises and burns.

Moreover, the IAG claimed that the convicts misled the court that the victims’ skin was burnt with matchstick while the victim’s statement state that she was beaten with a ladle and she was tied to a water tank later. He added that per the medical report of the victim, 22 of the wounds she had sustained were old while only three were fresh.

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Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned the time the victim had spent at the suspect’s house. To this, the IAG responded that according to the victim’s statement, she had stayed there for a period of two years.

He added that all the while the convicts abused her, they threatened the child maid that the police would beat her if she ever thought of telling anybody about her maltreatment.

The counsel for the judge wife argued that the 10-year-old never said she was locked inside the house alone.

He added that the former judge and his wife used to take care of her as just her own parents would. Justice Ahsan, though, asked how could a victim be recovered from the very house whose occupants claim she had been kidnapped. However, she said that they had no evidence to defend their point. The lawyer reiterated that the doctors who had examined her had confirmed that the injuries the 10-year-old girl had suffered to her face and hands were accidental.

He further stated that the child maid remained in the prosecution’s custody for five months after which she gave the statement about her hand being burnt.

The IAG, however, pointed out that a statement had been recorded about the victim’s treatment.“Why was a case was not registered against the girl’s father who left his daughter [with the convicts] for two years?” asked Justice Yahya Afridi.

The IAG responded that the girl’s father should be charged as an accessory to the crime. He further conceded that they did not know the whereabouts of the victim’s father when the incident took place.

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The IAG pleaded that the court, instead of granting the petitioner’s plea of overturning the sentence, should instead enhance it.

After both sides concluded their arguments, the court reserved its verdict.

Judge hearing Parliament attack case transferred

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Wednesday suspended anti-terrorism court judge Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi by declaring him an officer on special duty (OSD) and directing him to report to the IHC.

“The Honourable Chief Justice has been pleased to make the following postings and transfers of judicial officers of Islamabad Judicial Service with immediate effect, till further orders, in the public interest,” read the notification issued by the high court.

Judge Zaidi has been hearing the case relating to the attack on the Parliament at the height of the 2014 PTI dharna against the government and implicates Prime Minister Imran Khan. He is also hearing the case of Barrister Fahd Malik murder, which was close to a resolution.

As per the notification, dated May 3, Judge Zaidi has also been removed from the IHC inspection team.

In his stead, District and Sessions Judge Syed Ehtisham Ali has been included as a member of the inspection team as an additional charge.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2019.

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