ISLAMABAD.: The Supreme Court has accepted a constitutional petition regarding transfer of Barrister Fahad Malik murder case from the Islamabad High Court to any other high court.
A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin on Friday heard the petition filed by the accused — Raja Arshad Mahmood — under Article 186-A of the Constitution.
He requested the court to transfer the matters related to Barrister Fahad murder from the IHC to any other high court on account of recusal of three IHC judges. Currently, four judges have been working in the IHC.
Malik was killed in a shooting in the federal capital, reportedly while mediating a case between two parties involving groups connected to his uncle Tariq Malik, and Raja Arshad, Nauman Khokar and others.
He was the nephew of former Senate chairman Mian Mohammad Soomro, the incumbent privatisation minister.
On May 1, a two-member division bench of Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb halted the release of Raja Arshad after an anti-terrorism court granted him post-arrest bail.
Later, the bench suspended the anti-terrorism court’s bail granting order.
In the meantime, the accused also filed an application, requesting transfer of the case from the ATC to a sessions court.
Both the matters are still pending; however, three judges recused themselves from hearing on different grounds.
On September 27, the accused approached the apex court, requesting transfer of the case from the IHC to any other high court.
The court on October 22 issued notice to Islamabad Advocate General Tariq Jahangiri for legal assistance in the matter.
On November 4, on a query of the bench, Jahangiri strongly opposed the transfer plea from one high court to other. He stated that it would encourage a new trend that would not be justifiable.
Jahangiri recommended the bench to issue notice to the complainant party. Upon this, the court issued notice to the complainant party for November 7.
Likewise, the Islamabad attorney general was also directed to ensure service.
The complainant side appeared before the bench on Thursday with the request to grant it time to engage a counsel over the issue.
Upon this, the court adjourned the matter till Friday. Faisal Siddiqui appeared on behalf of the complainant party while Ahsan Bhoon advocate represented the accused.
After hearing both the parties, the court allowed the constitutional petition regarding the transfer of the case from the IHC to any other high court.
However, a written order is yet to be issued.
Raja Arshad was nominated in an August 15, 2016 FIR registered with the Shalimar police.
The complainant contended that the suspect was granted bail by the ATC at a time when the murder trial of Fahad was in its final stages and statements of accused individuals were to be recorded under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The accused was arrested while trying to enter Afghanistan from the Torkham border crossing, as he was on the exit control list.
Both sides are accusing each other of using their influence in the case. Senior lawyers believe that the Supreme Court judgment will evolve new jurisprudence regarding the transfer of a case from one high court to another.