Two muggers awarded 39 years in jail by ATC

An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday awarded a collective jail term of 39 years to two muggers on charges of armed robbery, encounter and possession of illicit arms.

Muhammad Waseem and Mohsinullah were found guilty of looting three citizens at gunpoint, attacking police with unlicenced weapons and causing terrorism within the jurisdiction of the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station on May 5, 2020.

The ATC-V judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the Karachi central prison, directed both the convicts to pay a cumulative fine of Rs105,000, and in case of default, they would have to undergo additional imprisonment of 13 months.

A third accused, Abdul Ghafoor, was handed down seven-year-imprisonment and a Rs20,000 penalty for harbouring the convicts. The judge announced his verdict after recording evidence and final arguments from both defence and prosecution sides. He noted that ocular evidence supported medical evidence and the snatched property recovered from the possession of the accused on the spot was identified by the complainant to be belonging to him.

Besides, he added that an unlicenced pistol along with live bullets recovered from them was sent to a forensic science laboratory (FSL) for matching with empties and the result was declared positive, which connected the accused with the alleged crime.

He said Ghafoor committed the offence of harbouring the accused with the intention of facilitating them in the commission of the offence. “The act of accused creates sense of fear, insecurity and panic in the mind of general public; therefore, both accused have committed the offence of terrorism,” the judge ruled.

He said the sentences awarded to the convicts would run concurrently. The convicts were sent back to the prison to serve out the remainder of their sentences. The court put the case against two fugitives – Najeebullah Khan and Shakir – in the dormant file till their arrest.

According to the prosecution, four men on two motorcycles were busy looting a Suzuki pick-up driver and his two neighbours who were on their way to the Fruit Mandi early morning on May 5, 2020. In the meantime, a police van arrived there and the accused, on seeing it, approached them and opened fire. In the ensuing encounter, two of the accused – Muhammad Waseem and Imran – were injured and later arrested while two others managed to flee the spot. Imran died during treatment at hospital while Mohsinullah and Abdul Ghaffar, who provided shelter to the accused, were also arrested later.

State prosecutor Rizwana Jalib contended that that the complainant of the case fully supported the version of the prosecution and identified the recovered property to be belonging to him. There is sufficient evidence available on record to show the accused’s involvement in the crime. On the other hand, the defence counsel claimed that there were contradictions in the depositions of the prosecution witnesses as they had concocted the story. Claiming innocence of their clients, they pleaded with the court to acquit the accused.

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