Two out of six Rangers men accused of killing Sarfraz Shah were identified by a police officer and the victim’s brother in court on Monday as the first prosecution witnesses took the stand in the high-profile case.
Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso of the Anti-Terrorism Court examined on Monday two prosecution witnessess, including complainant Syed Salik Shah, the brother of the deceased Sarfraz Shah and Inspector Riaz Hussain of Boat Basin. Both witnesses identified accused Rangers men Shahid Zafar, who was reported to have shot Shah with his G-3 rifle, and Muhammad Afzal.
Salik was first at the stand. He told the court that he was on duty at a private television channel where he works as crime reporter on June 8, at about 5:30pm when his mother called. She said that some women from the neighbourhood had told her that Sarfraz had a fight with some people at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park and that the police and Rangers were there.
Examined by Special Public Prosecutor Muhammad Khan Buriro, the complainant said that he then went straight to the Boat Basin police station and then to Clifton PS. He was told by the officer on duty at Clifton that a young man was injured in firing by the Rangers and was taken to Jinnah hospital. He went to the emergency and met the Medico Legal Officer who showed him the body.
Two personnel of the Pakistan Rangers were there and Shah said they had name tags: Shahid Zafar and Muhammad Afzal. “I asked them why they killed my brother,” Salik said. “[I] was told to go to the police station or [the Rangers] headquarters.” They said, “do not talk to us”.
Salik then narrated the details of the public protest at Chief Minister House and the burial. During cross examination, Salik was asked why he did not describe the accused in the FIR and give the names of the women who broke the news. Salik told the bench that the police never called the women or his mother for a statement. At one point, Salik lost his temper when a defence lawyer asked him about his brother being caught committing a dacoity.
Boat Basin SI Riaz Hussain deposed next and told the bench how the two Rangers men who were nominated by Salik had been surrendered by their superiors so they could be formally arrested. He witnessed the hand over.
The court put off the proceedings till Tuesday when five prosecution witnesses are likely to be examined.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2011.