A judge’s request for a one-month extension to decide the Sarfraz Shah murder case has been turned down by the Supreme Court.
The apex court has instead ordered for Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso of the anti-terrorism case to reach a conclusion on merit within 15 days. Khoso has been hearing the case daily but could not meet the deadline and therefore wrote Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary. A few days were lost when the defence lawyers said they could not take part in proceedings because they were part of a strike against the killings of four bar members.
In Islamabad, the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court resumed hearing the suo motu case of Sarfraz Shah’s killing in which Rangers personnel are standing trial. Shah was shot dead in broad daylight on June 8.
The SC had first taken suo moto notice of the killing and disposing the case on June 10, ordered the removal of Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari as the Provincial Police Officer of Sindh and Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry as the Director General of the Pakistan Rangers in Sindh. The court appointed DIG West Khawaja Sultan as the investigation officer and ordered him to wrap up investigations in seven days. Similar orders were issued to Judge Khoso to conclude the case within thirty days by conducting the hearing on a day-to-day basis.
Seven accused men have been indicted by the ATC. They include six rangers who were caught on tape shooting the young man at point-blank range inside Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park located in Clifton, Karachi.
Defence wants ballistics expert
The judge hearing the Sarfraz Shah murder trial will announce on Thursday his decision on two defence requests to summon the ballistics expert and chemical examiner in the case.
The request was submitted by defence lawyer Shaukat Hayat, who argued that these experts were needed to clarify certain ambiguities in the case.
The ballistics expert testfired to examine the used bullet casings and the G-3 rifle from which Shahid Zafar fired two shots that critically injured the victim. According to Hayat, the parcel containing the used bullet casings did not have a bullet casing.
The request was opposed by Special Public Prosecutor Muhammad Khan Buriro. He argued that when the paperwork on the chemical and ballistics tests were submitted, the defence raised no objections at the time.
These requests to summon the experts were filed on July 28 when the defence was away from the proceedings during a strike by lawyers.
On one hand they boycotted court proceedings and on the other, they moved an application, which amounts to “working”, Buriro said, asking the court to dismiss the request as unnecessary and aimed at wasting the time of the court.
Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso put off the proceedings till Thursday at 11 am.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2011.