Murder suspect acquitted by Supreme Court after a decade

10:25 PM | 12 Feb, 2019
Murder suspect acquitted by Supreme Court after a decade
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ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court acquitted a man on Tuesday who had been convicted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in a murder case and had been imprisoned for around a decade.

Asfandyar was found guilty of murdering a student in 2009 by an anti-terrorism court. It was reported that he had kidnapped Butt for ransom but killed him for failure to receive money. The Lahore High Court had sentenced him to life in prison.

However, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa heard the appeal. The top judge observed that the prosecution had been unable to prove its allegations against Asfandar and reprimanded the magistrate, Kanwar Anwar Ali, for 'not following the legal procedure and failing to conduct the identity parade'.

Expressing his dismay over such type of cases, Justice Khosa lamented that suspects were treated in this manner; he also summoned the magistrate on February 22, remarking that 'people who are supposed to follow the law should be accountable'.

During the hearing, Asfandyar’s lawyer conceded that “legal training is mandatory for someone to be appointed”, to which Justice Khosa remarked that perhaps the ATC and LHC had 'failed to look at the law'.

Justice Khosa also highlighted discrepancies in witnesses’ statements and raised questions over the procedure that the police followed to determine the guilt of a suspect.

"The testimonies may have been 'developed' after arresting the suspect," the judge remarked and asked how it had come to occur. Asfandyar’s counsel argued that people got to know of his involvement through a source and found that the body had been thrown into a stream.

“Everyday we see that police get to the suspect immediately. The suspect is real but all the testimonies are false,” Justice Khosa regretted.

The chief justice is passing harsh remarks on the practice of recording false testimonies before courts, saying that it creates hurdles for courts.

Justice Khosa is also deliberating over the suo moto jurisdiction of the court and police reforms to ensure expeditious justice.