Two months ago, six Rangers personnel were caught on camera shooting a man in Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park and apparently allowing him to bleed to death. On Monday, all the talking will be over as the lawyers will present their final arguments.
Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso, Anti Terrorism Court (ATC-I) Karachi division, will hear the prosecution and defence’s final arguments in the Sarfraz Shah murder case on Monday after defence closed its case on Saturday.
The defence examined its fourth and final witness - the Chhipa Ambulance driver, Muhammad Saleem. The witness told the court that he has been a volunteer driver for three years. While he was unable to recall the exact date, he remembered the details of the day clearly. At about 15:45 pm, he was summoned to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park, Boat Basin, Clifton via a message on his wireless set. He reached the site within the next five minutes. Saleem told the court that he saw three or four Rangers personnel and a young man lying on the ground, critically injured. “I took out the stretcher and transported the injured into the ambulance,” he testified. “Two of the Rangers men accompanied me to Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre where the injured man was received for treatment and I left.”
Special Public Prosecutor Muhammad Khan Buriro passed up the opportunity to cross-examine the witness and the defence asked the court to close their case.
The court adjourned further proceedings and asked the prosecution and defence lawyers to submit their final arguments till 1 pm on Monday after which the judgment is likely to be reserved.
Once again, the defence may raise the issue of jurisdiction in a last-ditch attempt to have the case moved from the ATC to a sessions court. A week ago, the Sindh High Court (SHC) put its foot down against transferring the case to an ordinary court, despite the defence’s insistence that there was no ‘terrorism’ caused by the incident. Syed Sarfraz Shah was killed on June 8 after he was turned over to the Rangers by Afsar Khan who was also implicated in the case. The entire episode was filmed by an Awaz TV channel cameraman. The prosecution feels that the clip, that spread like wildfire, left people shocked and terrorised putting the case in an ATC’s jurisdiction.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.