KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court sentenced on Thursday two activists of the proscribed Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan to death, convicting them of the targeted killings of two people, including a shopkeeper and a physician, belonging to the Shia community.
Syed Ahmed Hassan and Muhammad Naeem Khan were found guilty of murdering Shehryar Abbas Rizvi in July 2014 and Hassan was also found guilty of murdering Dr Naseem Aun Jafferi in August the same year.
Announcing the verdict, the ATC-6 judge observed that the cases were not of some regular homicide, arising out of an act of robbery, land or matrimonial dispute but the victims were targeted and these acts created terror, insecurity and panicked people, particularly the bereaved families.
According to the prosecution, Hassan and Khan worked for the banned sectarian outfit, SSP, and targeted Rizvi at his shop in Jamshed Road neighbourhood on June 14, 2014. Rizvi had died on the spot, according to his brother, Rakim.
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In the other case, Adeel, a nephew of Dr Jafferi, said that on August 30, 2014, his uncle was at the Javed Clinic near Hussaini Imam Bargah in Korangi 2 ½, seeing patients, when three men on a motorcycle came and two of them, whose faces were covered, disembarked to shoot at Dr Jafferi. He died on way to the hospital.
The prosecution maintained that both the murders were sectarian motivated.
The accused, on the other hand, pleaded innocence and maintained that they were picked up by the police and were later falsely implicated in these cases. They accused police of mala fide intentions.
Concluding the trial, the judge remarked that the prosecution successfully established its case against the accused while they remained unable to prove their innocence. Both the accused were given capital punishment and were also ordered to pay a fine of Rs200,000 to each of the victims.
Security for witness
Meanwhile, the same court wrote a letter to the Sindh Police chief, directing him to arrange security for Allama Aurangzeb Farooqui so that he can appear as a witness at the hearing of a case pertaining to an attack on him, allegedly carried out by the proscribed militant outfit, Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP).
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Farooqui, who recently contested the 2018 general election in NA-238, on the Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party's ticket, is the former central president of the banned outfit Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat, which operated under the banner of SSP before its proscription.
He survived an assassination attempt on his life on December 25, 2012, as his motorcade came under attack near Moti Mahal in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. Four of his security guards, a private gunman and driver were killed in the firing.
The ATC-6 wrote to the IG that Farooqui has to appear in the court to record his statement in the case since he is the eye witness of the incident, and apparently, was also the prime target of the shooters. The court ordered the IG to deal with the matter on a priority basis.
An activist of SMP, Johar Hussain alias Rehman, is being tried for the attack while more than six other workers of the banned sectarian outfit have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case. So far, the court has recorded testimonies of 10 witnesses.
A case against the accused was registered at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Police Station.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2019.
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