KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Wednesday the advocate-general and the prosecutor-general to file comments on a petition against the denial of the meeting of Saad Aziz, the detained IBA graduate suspected of masterminding the Safoora Goth carnage, with his family and lawyers.
A division bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, directed the top provincial law officers to file their comments by July 7.
Aziz was taken into custody on May 19 for plotting the bus massacre that claimed the lives of 45 members of Karachi's Ismaili community. Armed motorcyclists had boarded a community bus and opened fire on the passengers, including women on May 13. Police officials claimed that there are 22 FIRs registered against Aziz, out of which he has been identified by eyewitnesses in five cases.
On Wednesday, the suspect's family went to court against the prison and law enforcement authorities for denying them a meeting with Aziz. The petitioner, Aziz Akhtar, said that they went to meet Aziz in the prison but the authorities refused to entertain their request.
The conduct of the authorities is a violation of the suspect's right to fair trial as well as the Code of Criminal Procedure and the jail manual, argued the family's lawyer, Ilyas Khan. He stated that neither the family members nor he himself were being permitted to see the under-trial prisoner.
"During my 50 years of practicing law, this is the first time that I am being denied a meeting with my client," Khan told the two judges, requesting them to declare such conduct on the part of the authorities as a violation of the law. The court was pleaded to direct the home secretary, prisons IG and the prison superintendent to allow the suspect's meeting with his family and lawyers.
The two judges found that the advocate-general and the prosecutor-general had not filed their comments and directed them to do so by July 7, when the matter would again be taken up for hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.