Fakhra Younus case: Punjab authorities fail to serve notice to key accused again

Published: January 27, 2015
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Fakhra, who moved to Italy for plastic surgery after the attack, committed suicide in March 2012. PHOTO: FILE

Fakhra, who moved to Italy for plastic surgery after the attack, committed suicide in March 2012. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The Punjab government may be breaking records in good governance but its efficiency seems to be failing when it comes to serving a mere court summons to a former governor’s son, accused of throwing acid on his wife.

After repeated attempts over the last two years, the Sindh High Court (SHC) has yet again issued fresh notice to former Punjab MPA Bilal Mustafa Khar to appear in court for the re-investigation of the acid attack on his estranged wife, Fakhra Younus. This time, the judges directed the Punjab prison police chief to serve it upon the respondent, who is reportedly in one of the jails under his supervision.

Bilal, the son of former Punjab governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar, was acquitted by a Karachi district and sessions court in December 2003 after the prosecution failed to prove that he threw acid on Fakhra.

The victim’s family had alleged that Bilal threw acid on her on May 14, 2000, at Napier Road, Karachi. The witnesses — Fakhra’s brother-in-law and her sister’s mother-in-law, Shahida Malik — did not identify Bilal as the accused.

Fakhra, who moved to Italy for plastic surgery after the attack, committed suicide in March 2012. Twelve years after the case first surfaced, three human rights organisations approached the court to seek justice for the victim’s family.

The petitioners, including the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Shirkat Gah and Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, claimed that the acquittal on December 16, 2003, came because the four eyewitnesses refused to identify Bilal in the trial court due to his ‘influence’. The trial court had also failed to consider the evidence available on record, they alleged.

The high court was pleaded to summon the entire record relating to the Younus’ case from the trial court, examine it and remand it back to the court for a retrial. According to the petitioners’ lawyer, Faisal Siddiqui, the government had enacted the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act 2011. The case should be re-investigated under these laws, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2015.

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