The Supreme Court of Pakistan observed on Monday that it seemed that the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) had failed to dispense justice in Zain Rauf’s murder case.
Hearing a suo motu notice, the bench headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim assured Ghazala Rauf, mother of the deceased, that the State would contest the case and ensure that her son’s killers were brought to justice.
He also assured her of security and said that she need not worry about harassment by police. Justice Muslim said no one was above the law. He said the case would be decided in accordance with the law.
Ghazala Rauf told the court that her brothers had become a party to the case without her consent. She said the accused, Mustafa Kanju, son of a former state minister, belonged to an influential family. She said she lacked resources to fight the accused on her own. “My son is dead. I have borne the loss considering it the will of God. Now, I am left with two daughters to look after,” she said.
The hearing was then suspended and Ghazala Rauf completed recording her statement in the judge’s chamber.
When the hearing resumed, Punjab Prosecutor General Syed Ihtesham Qadir told the court that the provincial government had filed an appeal against the trial court’s verdict in the Lahore High Court. He requested the court to proceed in the matter after the LHC reached a decision on the appeal.
Qadir said the trial court had not heard the case on merit. He said the prosecutor had not been allowed to cross-examine the key witness Sohail Afzal. Afzal, an uncle of the deceased, had retracted his statement to the police against Kanju and four other suspects.
Further, the prosecutor general cited an investigation officer’s statement that Afzal had been spotted taking an envelope full of cash from the suspect after the hearing wherein he retracted his statement.
The bench directed the prosecutor general to submit to it a copy of the appeal filed in the LHC and other case material and adjourned the hearing.
Speaking to the media after the hearing, Ghazala Rauf said she had not pardoned the accused but she did not want to pursue the case either.
Zain Rauf, a ninth grade student, was killed in April this year in a shooting allegedly by Kanju and his guards following a collision between Kanju’s car and another car in Cavalry Ground area.
An ATC judge had acquitted Kanju and his four guards citing lack of adequate evidence against them.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2015.
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