The Sindh High Court annulled on Monday the sentence awarded to a lawyer by a sessions court in an attempted murder case.
A single-member bench comprising Justice Amjad Ali Sahito ruled on advocate Shamim Ahmed's appeal against his conviction by the trial court. The bench directed the petitioner to submit a surety bond of Rs100,000.
During the hearing, the defence counsel had contended that there were contradictions in the statements of the witnesses. Two independent eyewitnesses had said nothing against the suspect, he had argued. The medico-legal report of the victim and the statements of his brothers do not match, the defence counsel said, adding that there was no evidence against his client either.
On the other hand, the prosecutor argued that two FIRs were registered and the convicted lawyer did not deny the charges. He said that there are decisions of the Supreme Court and the high courts in which appeals against the sentence have been dismissed.
"Being a lawyer does not mean that the accused has immunity. The Balochistan High Court rejected a lawyer's appeal by giving remarks that he [lawyers] had more responsibility," the prosecutor asserted.
Mandokhel seeks justice
Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party MNA advocate Abdul Qadir Khan Mandokhel filed an application with the SHC, seeking justice against PTI Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, who had slapped him live on TV.
A sessions court had earlier thrown out Mandokhels plea to register a case against Awan. The court had ruled that the case should be filed in the city where the incident took place.
The PPP lawmaker has asked SHC to make the police register a case against Awan who he claimed has caused distress and mental agony to his family and voters.
A woman approached the SHC seeking justice against the so-called land mafia, which according to her has started constructing a building on her roof top without her consent.
"The land mafia is erecting another building on the roof of our house," Samia Ahmed, a resident of Gulshan-e-Bihar told an SHC bench comprising Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui and Justice Agha Faisal.
The bench asked Ahmed to submit the documents of her property to prove her title to the estate.
Ahmed's lawyer argued that the officials of Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and other agencies were complacent in the illegal constructions going on in Gulshan-e-Bihar.
The court ordered SBCA and other agencies to stop illegal construction and asked the petitioner to submit documents of her house before the court. The court adjourned the hearing seeking documents from the petitioner.
Hearing a set of pleas seeking the recovery of missing citizens, the same bench directed the authorities to submit a report on missing persons by August 12.
According to the family of one missing person, Abdullah, he had left home to go to a madrassa but never came back. The complaint regarding his disappearance was filed at Bahadurabad Police Station.
The court sought a report from the relevant authorities on the efforts made for the recovery of Abdullah and other missing persons.
Security guard challenges KPT
The same bench heard a petition filed by a security guard against the dismissal of his services from the Karachi Port Trust (KPT).
Petitioner Syed Shakir Rehan's counsel stated that his client was dismissed against the law and KPT should be ordered to reinstate him.
Justice Siddiqui and Justice Faisal directed KPT file a reply regarding the petition.
Durrani's bail extended
Another bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro extended the bail of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani and other accused till August 16 in the graft reference against them.
However, the National Accountability Bureau's petition challenging the bail granted to Durrani and other accused could not be taken up.
Durrani's counsel took the position that since Justice Mazhar would be joining the Supreme Court, this bench would not be able to complete the hearing. The NAB prosecutor said that the matter should be referred to the SHC chief justice for the constitution of a new bench. The court remarked that they should wait for 10 days, after which the bench will recommend to the Chief Justice for a new bench.
The court adjourned the hearing till August 16 due to the absence of some of the accused's lawyers.
Notice issued to NHA chairperson
Separately, the SHC sought clarification from the National Highway Authority (NHA) chairperson over the nonpayment of compensation to citizens affected by the construction activities of the authority.
A group of citizens has filed a plea seeking contempt of court proceedings against the NHA chief. The petitioners maintain that SHC in April had directed the authority to pay them a cumulative sum of Rs87 million. However, despite passage of many months, NHA has yet to make the payment.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2021.
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