The fourth and last appeal in the Sarfraz Shah case was filed by Rangers jawan Shah Zafar, who was the only man out of seven, to be given the death penalty for killing the 19-year-old.
Zafar’s lawyer Shaukat Hayat filed the appeal on Thursday, challenging the power of the terrorism court to try the case instead of an ordinary one, like, say a sessions court. He argued that the evidence and statements made during the trial by “mohallah” or neighbourhood people were “manufactured evidence”. They had submitted that they had been “terrorised” by the incident. But, Hayat argues, they made these statements only after the Supreme Court had already declared the case a prima facie one of an act of terrorism.
This declaration came on June 10 in the SC’s suo motu proceedings. The entire evidence regarding the element of “terrorism” was concoted to make the case triable under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the appeal said.
Hayat described the charges framed by the ATC or trial court as “defective” and thus the conviction and sentencing under the charge sheet was illegal.
According to the defence, the ingredients of terrorism as defined in sections 6 and 7 of the ATA were missing. No common intention or planning for homicide or terrorism was proved by the evidence laid by the prosecution at trial, the appellant maintained.
The appeal also lays emphasis on Shahid Zafar’s “conduct”, who, with the other Rangers men, took the injured Sarfraz Shah to hospital. No terrorist takes the victim of his act of terrorism to a hospital and manages the treatment, the lawyer argued.
The Rangers acted lawfully while on duty, the defence maintained. They went to the park after receiving information that the public had caught a robber who needed protection against them.
The video was also managed and thus unreliable, stated the appeal, requesting the court to set aside the conviction and sentence and order a new trial before an ordinary court.
All four appeals were filed within the mandatory period of seven days and are likely to be heard next week.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.