KARACHI: The men accused of murdering Hakim Mohammad Said are still out on bail as an appeal filed by the Sindh government against their acquittal by an anti-terrorism appellate bench of the High Court of Sindh is still pending a decision before the Supreme Court. It has been more than a decade.
Hakim Mohammad Said was gunned down on October 17, 1998 when he was going to his clinic at Hamdard Dawakhana, near Civil Hospital, Karachi. His assistant Hakim Abdul Qadir and office worker Wali Muhammad were also killed.
There was an immense political fallout. Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister, had blamed his coalition partner of the time, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, for the killings. The Sindh government was subsequently dismissed and governor’s rule was imposed in the province.
The Karachi police arrested a man named Shaikh Amirullah from a wedding hall in Federal B Area and booked him as the main accused. The other co-accused, who were sent up for trial, included Muhammad Shakir alias Shakir Langra, Muhammad Nadeem alias Nadeem Mota, Muhammad Zubair alias Landhiwala, Abu Imran Pasha, Nazar alias Muqarrib and Ezaz-ul Hasan.
The police listed suspects involved in the incident as MQM MPA Zulfiqar Haider, Naushad alias Major Dendi and Wahab Bandhani.
Nadeem Mota, alleged to be an active member of the Burnes Road sector, spotted the place where the alleged killers dumped the weapons used in the commission of the crime.
The police alleged to have recovered four Kalashnikovs, three TT pistols, one mauser besides a number of bullets. Police claimed that the empties or shells of bullets fired during the killing matched the weapons recovered. But ballistics tests disproved the police claim.
The case was first tried before a military court where three prosecution witnesses and the investigating officer were examined. But after the military courts were declared illegal by the Supreme Court in February 1999, the case was then transferred to an anti-terrorism court and ATC judge Dr Qamaruddin Vohra sentenced the accused to death. The accused appealed the decision. The alleged confession by Amirullah was rejected by the appellate forum which gave the accused men the benefit of the doubt and acquitted them of the charges of killing Hakim Mohammad Said and two others.
The state went appealed the judgment of the SHC bench and the accused got bail on two different occasions. The appeal is still pending adjudication in the Supreme Court. A number of known lawyers of Karachi remained associated with the case at different stages. They included the late barrister Azizullah K Shaikh, Abdul Waheed Katpar, Syed Iqtidar Ali Hashmi, Raja Qureshi, M Ilyas Khan, Special Public Prosecutor Habib Ahmed, the then Assistant Advocate General of Sindh Syed Mehmood Alam Rizvi (later a judge of the SHC).
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2011.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ