Court acquitted Sahiwal accused, not govt: Mazari

says out of court settlements also a reason of low conviction in right abuse cases

Saqib Virk November 12, 2019
Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari Monday informed the National Assembly (NA) that the government had filed an appeal against the verdict of a special anti-terrorism court in Sahiwal encounter case.

“It was the court's decision not that of the government and we have already filed an appeal against it," she said, while responding to Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) Shahida Rehmani, who had asked about the reportedly low conviction rate in human rights abuse cases and the measures taken by the government to improve the situation.

The minister said the provinces had cited different reasons for low conviction rate in the human rights abuse cases. She said it was difficult to get solid and concrete evidence as most of the cases were related to family matters.

"Out of court settlement is also one of the reasons whereas in many cases witnesses retract from the testimony which leads to acquittal of accused,” she said.

Macabre encounter: ATC acquits all accused in Sahiwal killings case

“Lack of medico legal evidence and expertise in collection of forensic evidence and problems in preservation, collection and production of evidence and witness during trial, and also the benefit of doubt goes to the accused," she added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N’s) Pervaiz Rasheed alleged that the incumbent government had held several politicians on corruption charges. He said that politicians belonging to opposition parties were being politically victimised.

PML-N’s Muhammad Akram was of the view that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was being used as a tool to twist the arms of opponents and that half of the members of treasury bench had joined the ruling elite by switching their loyalties.

Seemi Ezdi of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) maintained that the opposition parties had registered corruption cases against each other during their respective tenures. She said none of corruption case was lodged by the incumbent government.

PPP’s Rehman Malik called for setting up reforms committee comprising members of three major political parties in order to introduce amendments in NAB and FIA accountability laws.

PML-N’s Javed Abbasi alleged that the government since its inception had been targeting the opposition in the name of accountability. He said that NAB was being utilised to suppress the opposition.

Meanwhile, PPP lawmakers seemed to be having a divided opinion on the issue of the opening of Kartarpur Corridor.

Questioning the government’s policy, Abdul Qadir Patel said that Pakistan opened Kartarpur Corridor whereas India made the decision on Babri Masjid against the wishes of Muslims. He also raised his concern over the government’s stance on Kashmir.

On the other hand, Raja Pervez Ashraf termed the opening of Kartarpur Corridor a good omen and said that it was the PPP’s policy to provide ease for minorities.

Commenting on the locust attack in Karachi, PPP’s Nawab Yousuf Talpur and PML-N’s Rao Ajmal declared the influx of the creature attack as dangerous and said that it could spread across the country.

During the questioner break, the House was told that during the past 14 months, 4,637 Pakistani prisoners had been released from different countries. Saudi Arabia released 1,594 inmates on humanitarian grounds after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visit to Pakistan this year.

Meanwhile, 1,873 Pakistani prisoners were released from United Arab Emirates, 167 from Libya, 782 from Malaysia and 53 from Qatar.

Four ordinances including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)-Authority were presented in the National Assembly.

On the identification of quorum by PPP’s Shahid Rehmani, the session was postponed till Thursday.

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