KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) reserved verdict, on Thursday, on the defence counsel’s application seeking transfer of the Sulaiman Lashari murder case from the ATC to a regular court.
The court also issued a notice to the AIG operations on a contempt application over his failure to provide security to the complainant party despite the court’s directions. In addition, the court issued a notice to the chief medical officer of the jail with directions to submit a medical report regarding the health of the key suspect, Salman Abro, before the next hearing.
Lashari, a student of O’ Levels, was shot dead inside his house in Defence Housing Authority on May 8. The police claimed that accused Abro had arrived at the victim’s house along with five police constables and had opened fire.
The police added that one of the victim’s guards, Ghulam Ali, had also fired at the attackers, wounding Abro and a police guard, Zaheer Ahmed in the process. Abro was admitted to a private hospital from where he has made a recovery but Ahmed succumbed to his injuries. Ali was also hurt in the exchange of fire, the police added.
At the previous hearing, the suspect’s lawyer, Abdul Razzak, had filed an application under Section 23 (power to transfer cases to regular courts) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997, challenging the jurisdiction of the ATC and requesting the court to send the case to a sessions court. In his arguments, the counsel said that since the medical report had declared the suspect underage, he could not be tried under the ATA. Besides, the complainants were the first to open fire on Abro, he maintained.
While opposing the arguments, the complainant’s lawyers, Muhammad Khan Buriro and Mubashir Mirza, said that attacking someone’s house along with policemen equipped with official arms fell within the ambits of the ATA and the court should continue the trial.
The district public prosecutor, Abdul Maroof, also said that the incident caused panic and spread terror in society and hence comes under the ATA law.
Following the arguments, the court reserved its verdict till August 7.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.