The Sindh High Court (SHC) dismissed the appeals of two police personnel in the murder case of a student, Intezar Ahmed, but commuted their death sentence into life imprisonment.
The high court however acquitted six other police personnel, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court. Police constables Bilal Rasheed and Mohammad Daniyal had been sentenced to death while police inspectors Tariq Mehmood, Tariq Raheem and Azhar Ahsan, head constable Shahid Usman and constables Fawad Khan and Ghulam Abbas to life imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) on October 25, 2021.
According to the prosecution, the appellants being personnel of then Anti-Car Lifting Cell intercepted the vehicle of Ahmed in DHA phase VI and later, Bilal and Daniyal suddenly appeared and fired at the vehicle resulting in the death of Ahmed on January 13, 2018.
Counsels for Bilal and Daniyal submitted that the case did not fall within the purview of the anti-terrorism law and police high-ups had falsely implicated them in the case in order to show their efficiency.
The counsels submitted that Bilal and Daniyal were not present at the time of the incident and an eyewitness of the case did not identify them. They said that CCTV footage could not be relied upon as evidence as the same had not been kept in safe custody. They submitted that the appellants be acquitted due to insufficient evidence or their death sentence be commuted into life imprisonment.
Counsels of other appellants submitted that they were performing their lawful duties as per orders of the SSP and acting as a decoy for criminals involved in snatching cars. They submitted that the prosecution had failed to prove that they had common intention with the other police personnel who fired at the deceased.
An additional prosecutor general supported the trial court order submitting that CCTV footage clearly showed that the appellants were present at the scene and empty shells found from the scene had matched with the weapons recovered from the appellants.
A division bench of the SHC comprising Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha and Justice Zulfiqar Ali Sangi observed that CCTV footage clearly showed the incident as narrated in the statement of police inspector Tariq Mehmood and admissible in evidence.
The high court observed that the prosecution could not prove involvement of ACLC police officers and personnel in the offence or their collusion with Daniyal and Bilal as they could not be seen holding firearms.
The SHC said that the case did not fall within the purview of the anti-terrorism law, hence, the conviction awarded to the appellants under the law was set aside. The bench observed that the prosecution had proved its case against Daniyal and Bilal who were gunmen of the ACLC SSP, but the motive of the murder had not been proved as alleged by the complainant. Due to this, the SHC commuted their death sentence to life imprisonment.