Death sentence given to policeman in girl’s rape, murder case upheld
By Tahir Siddiqui
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday upheld the death sentence given to one of the two traffic police constables for the kidnap, rape and murder of a three-year-old girl in Korangi last year.
Head Constable Bashir Ahmed and Constable Noor Mohammed had been found guilty of all charges by an anti-terrorism court headed by Judge Syed Hasan Shah Bukhari who sentenced them to death on Aug 31, 2009.
The three-year-old victim was kidnapped on July 4, 2009 from near her Korangi house while she was playing with other children.
The SHC’s appellate bench comprising Justices Shahid Anwer Bajwa and Irfan Saadat Khan dismissed the acquittal appeal of Bashir Ahmed, the principal accused, and upheld the death sentence handed down to him by the trial court.
The bench, however, acquitted Noor Mohammed for want of incriminating evidence against him and ordered the jail authorities to release him if he was not wanted in any other criminal case.
The bench also maintained the trial court’s decision through which it had sentenced the principal accused to 10 years in prison and imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on him.
The two traffic policemen were charged with committing rape and murder intentionally after kidnapping the victim on July 4, 2009 in Noorani Basti, a shantytown in Korangi.
They were booked by the Zaman Town police under Sections 364-A (kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of 10), 376 (punishment for rape), 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 (a), (b) & (c) of the Anti-terrorism Act, 1997 on the complaint of the victim’s paternal uncle, Abdul Hashim.
The section of a sexual assault was not initially included in the charge-sheet, but it was later added to the charge-sheet after medical evidence from the chemical examiner’s office confirmed that the girl had been subjected to it before her death.
The case was transferred from a regular court to the special court when the anti-terror law was invoked and its relevant section incorporated in the charge-sheet.
The victim’s body was recovered from a manhole near the FTC building on a lead given by the accused following their arrest on July 5, 2009.
Data of contractual civil servants
A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Mohammed Ali Mazhar ordered a petitioner to file statistics of civil servants working on a contract basis in the provincial and the federal governments.
The division bench was seized with the petition of Dr Mohammad Ali Thalho, the chairman of the Sindh Doctors Alliance, who sought direction to the federal government to amend the policy for fixing the age limit for public representatives and public servants.
He stated that all political representatives happen to be public servants and when medical fitness and mental capacity was considered compulsory for common citizens of the state then there must be a clear criterion for the retirement age of the politicians as well.The petitioner submitted that the public representatives held public executive offices without limitation of age and medical fitness, although they were also members of society and they also possessed the same features and physique like common people and civil servants.
He stated that the retirement age for all government servants was fixed while no maximum age limit was determined for the holders of public offices, which was discriminatory as all citizens had equal rights under the Constitution.
Dr Thalho submitted that the minimum age requirement of a candidate for contesting the election of Majlis-i-Shoora and the provincial assembly was clearly described but the age of retirement was not mentioned anywhere in the election laws and the constitution.He submitted that the ageing factor was a natural phenomenon with psychological, physical and hormonal changes. “A person reaches high risk after the age of 60 on medical grounds such as memory loss, loss of determination, muscular and mental fatigue and lack of work interest,” he added.
The petitioner submitted that the eligibility criteria of public leaders should not only be considered on education degrees but also age, health and capabilities be made mandatory requisite.
Dr Thalho, also a former coordinator of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, stated that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah was about to reach the age of 80 years and his age and working capacity was not recommended to hold the office of the provincial chief executive.
He submitted that a person at the age of 70 to 80 years was highly prone to many psychological and physical disorders, which did not allow him or her to hold a public office on medical and moral grounds.
He submitted that the age factor for holding the public office could not be ignored because a little delay in taking a decision could affect millions of people.