Luari Sharif followers acquitted in 39-year-old murder case

SHC bench rules prosecution failed to prove case against the surviving 15 appellants

Our Correspondent October 06, 2022


The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday acquitted all the 24 accused in a case of murder of seven people near the Luari Sharif Shrine in the Badin district over 39 years ago, saying that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against them.

On September 12, a single bench, comprising Justice Omar Sial, had reserved the ruling after hearing arguments from both sides. "The prosecution was unable to prove its case against the appellants," Justice Sial said.

"Looking at the entire evidence holistically and in particular keeping in mind the above observations, I am of the view that none of the appellants caused the death of any of the seven deceased," he wrote in the 15-page judgment.

The case stemmed from the murder of seven people and injuries to three others in January 1983 a few miles away from the historic Dargah Luari Sharif. At that time it was implied that the murders were linked to the Dargah, particularly, the matter of the caretaker or the Sajjadah Nashin of the Dargah Luari Sharif.

As a result, Dargah Luari Sharif remained closed for general visitors for 37-long years, until it was reopened in January 2020 on the initiative of former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and the efforts of the Sindh government.

In all, 32 people were implicated in the murder case. In 1999, the Hyderabad Sessions Court had sentenced 24 accused to life imprisonment, who challenged the verdict in the SHC. On Wednesday, 15 appellants, who are still alive, walked free.

Justice Sial said that it had unfortunately taken 39 years for the case to get to this position, adding: "17 years were spent in trial and another 22 years have passed in the adjudication of this appeal." The accused were represented by Ahsan Gul Dahri and Mehmood A Qureshi advocates.

All of the appellants were on bail; hence, the court ordered that their bail bonds be returned to the sureties.

A bloody fight broke out between two groups consisting of a large number of persons on 28 January, 1983 at about 2pm. Seven persons lost their lives whereas three were injured. An FIR No11 of 1983 was registered on the same day under sections 302, 307, 147, 148, 149, 114 and 109 PPC at the Badin police station.

As per the police record and court documents, the incident occurred because of a dispute regarding who would be the Gaddi Nashin of the Luari Sharif Shrine.

The term gaddi nashin refers to the successor of a holy man (commonly referred to as a Sufi or a Saint and in some instances to a descendant of a disciple of a Sufi.

In the present case the two groups of persons fought after the death of Pir Gul Hassan. The accused group of people supported Pir Faiz Mohammad as the gaddi nashin, whereas the complainant group of people declined to accept him as the Pir.

The names of the persons who died in the incident were, Bahram, Moula Bux, Khamiso, Suleman, Wali Muhammad, Ghulam Muhammad and Muhammad Siddique.

The learned counsel for the appellants argued that a large number of people were implicated in this case because the complainant party wanted to occupy the land which was in possession of the Dargah.

The judgment read that apart from the four of the appellants, the others were not even assigned a role and were said to be present on the spot. Moreover, two of them were even said to be unarmed and common intention was not proved.

As per the verdict the testimony of the so called eyewitnesses in itself reveals that there are numerous contradictions in their statements.

Mala fide of the investigating officer and the witnesses is floating on the surface of the record.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2022.


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