An anti-terrorism court sentenced two hit-men, said to be associated with a political party, to imprisonment for life on two counts in a 12-year-old double murder case.Sohail alias Ahmed Liaquatabadwala alias Kala Munna and Kashif alias Shakeel Burger were found guilty of killing two citizens — Mir Akhlas Khan and his driver Amanullah — in Gulshan-e-Iqbal on August 18, 2011.
They were also convicted in cases pertaining to engaging in an encounter with police with an intent to kill, causing terror and possessing illegal weapons.The ATC-V judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his judgement which he had reserved after recording evidence and arguments from both the defence and prosecution sides. He observed that the prosecution successfully proved its charges against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt.
The judge awarded imprisonment for life to the convicts on two counts, one each for committing the double murder and causing terror in the locality. The convicts were told to pay Rs200,000 each as compensation to the legal heirs of the victims.The judge also awarded a collective sentence of 36-year-imprisonment to Sohail and 29-year-imprisonment to Kashif for the offences of an armed assault on police, attempted murder, possession of illicit arms and acts of terrorism.
He also imposed fines of varying sums on them, and in case of failure to pay the fines and the compensation, they would have to undergo additional imprisonment.
The court extended the benefit of Section 382-B (considering the period of detention since their arrest) of the CrPC to the convicts, who were subsequently remanded to the prison to serve out the remaining sentences that will run concurrently.The judge observed that though the prosecution successfully proved the murder case against both the men, “some mitigating circumstances do exist in this case for which the accused cannot be awarded capital punishment of death”.As per the prosecution, evidence and material available on record, he explained the accused were accompanied by their accomplices — Imran Mamoo, Asim Lamba, Arshad Kantaap and Waheed Ganja — who were duly armed with deadly weapons and had not been arrested by the police yet, adding that the two accused had been behind bars for 12 years; therefore, they cannot be awarded death penalty.The judge said that nothing had been placed on record by the defence side to show that prosecution witnesses falsely deposed against the accused, who took the stance that they were members of a political party and therefore being victimised by the prosecution. “During the trial, opportunity was given to the accused, but neither oral nor documentary material has been brought on record by the accused in order to disprove the allegations of the prosecution,” he added.According to the prosecution, the accused were arrested after an encounter with a police party near Ilyas Goth, Mohammadi Colony, Liaquatabad, on September 17, 2011, one month after the double murder of Akhlas Khan and his driver. Two pistols — a 9mm and a 30-bore — along with bullets were seized from Sohail, while a Kalashnikov, a 9mm pistol, bullets and a hand grenade were seized from Kashif.The state prosecutor said that the accused during interrogation confessed to having shot and injured both the victims along with their three absconding accomplices. After their arrest, the two accused also led a police team to a place from where hidden weapons used in the commission of the offence were recovered, he added.Separate cases were registered under sections 302 (premeditated murder), 324 (attempted murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code, and 13(d) and (e) of the Arms Ordinance read with Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act.