Perween Rahman’s family to challenge SHC verdict in Supreme Court

Sindh High Court nullifies ATC's life-imprisonment sentences awarded to five accused persons

By |
Web Desk
Perween Rahman, a social worker who was shot dead in Karachi. — Twitter/File
Perween Rahman, a social worker who was shot dead in Karachi. — Twitter/File

  • Perween Rahman’s family decides to move the SC against the SHC’s verdict acquitting all five men sentenced in her murder case.
  • SHC nullifies ATC's sentences awarded to five accused persons.
  • Court orders release of accused people if not wanted in other cases.

KARACHI: Rights activist Perween Rahman’s family Monday decided to challenge the Sindh High Court's verdict acquitting all five men sentenced in her murder case in the Supreme Court.

Aqeela Ismail, sister of the slain rights activist, told Geo News that the verdict is "beyond comprehension".

"Everything was clear both the joint investigation teams found the suspects guilty [of her murder]; however, every thing was ended today," she highlighted, lamenting that neither were they heard nor given an opportunity in the SHC.

She said that the lives of her family members and the employees of the Orangi Pilot Project were in danger after the release of the suspects.

Aqeela urged the authorities to arrest the suspects under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance, 1960. She also requested the Sindh government to file an appeal against the verdict of the SHC in the murder case immediately.

The slain architect's sister also demanded the federal government provide them with justice.

SHC orders release of men accused in Perween Rahman's murder

Earlier in the day, the SHC nullified the life-imprisonment sentences handed down to five accused persons in the Perween Rahman murder case.

In its order, the high court ordered the release of Raheem Swati, Ayaz Swati, Amjad Hussain Khan, Ahmed Khan alias Pappu Kashmiri, and Imran Swati, who had appealed against the verdict of an anti-terrorism court.

"...the appellants are entitled to the benefit of the doubt as a matter of right as opposed to concession and in this case, as mentioned above we have found many doubts concerning the appellant's involvement in the murder of the deceased," the order read.

In December last year, an ATC court in the metropolis sentenced four of the accused to back-to-back life imprisonment in the murder case of the social activist.

The ATC sentenced Ayaz, Raheem, Amjad, and Ahmed to double life imprisonment after they were found guilty of her murder.

The fifth accused, Imran, was awarded a sentence of seven years for being an accomplice in the murder of Rahman.

Following the passing of the order, the high court asked relevant authorities to release the five people if they were not wanted in any other case.

Meanwhile, Prosecutor General Sindh Faiz Shah's told Geo News that they were reviewing the decision announced by the top provincial court.

“An appeal will be filed against Sindh High Court's ruling,” the Prosecutor General Sindh said replying to a question.

The murder

Parveen, who was a renowned urban planner and social activist, was murdered in a drive-by shooting on her car at the Banaras flyover a few minutes after she left her office for home on March 13, 2013.

The case was initially registered at the Pirabad police station under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code. However, Supreme Court ordered a judicial inquiry which was conducted by the then-district and session judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon. Thereafter, Section 7 (the punishment of acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 was added to the FIR.

Investigation into the murder case revealed that Rahman, who was the director of the Orangi Pilot Project, was murdered by hitmen for Rs4 million.

A joint investigation team (JIT) was formed to probe the murder of the social worker.

Accused Hussain had told the team that Raheem and local ANP leader Ayaz were asking Rahman to hand over a piece of land to them.

However, after she refused, the political party's leader paid a banned organisation to murder her, he told the JIT.

The investigations further revealed that the plan to murder her was made at Raheem's residence in January 2013, with Hussain, Ayaz Swati, and Ahmed Khan in attendance.

The accused tasked two militants — Mehfozullah alias "Bhaloo" and Moosa — of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) to kill her in exchange for Rs4 million.

Hussain and the other accused surveilled Rahman for two months and provided information regarding her activities and whereabouts to the militants of the banned outfit.

After they had ample information about her, both the militants shot her down on March 23, 2013.

Hussain told the JIT that after the murder, Raheem did not pay the militants. Following this, the banned TTP members carried out a grenade attack on Raheem's house.