AsmaNawab, others acquitted in 20-year old triple murder case

Karachi: The Supreme Court on (SC) on Tuesday acquitted AsmaNawab, MohammadFarhan and Javed Ahmed Siddiqui who were awarded capital punishments in the case pertaining to murder of Asma’s father, mother and a brother.

The apex court bench, headed by Justice AsifSaeedKhosa and comprising Justice MushirAlam and Justice MazharAlam Khan Miankhel, was hearing the appeal filed by the convicts against the death penalties handed by the Anti-Terrorism Court for allegedly killing Asma’s father Nawab Ahmed, mother Abrar Begum and brother AsifNawab some two decades ago.

The convicts through their counsels challenged their punishments in the apex court after the Sindh High Court had upheld the judgment of the trial court. They contended that they were innocent and the charges labeled against them were baseless. The court was requested to set aside the convictions of the suspects and order their release.

After hearing the arguments from sides, the prosecution and defence, the apex court bench annulled the decision of the ATC and ordered that the convicts should be released, if not arrested in any other case.

The court observed that the prosecution had failed to establish its charges as the evidences put forward before it were not sufficient. The police use to arrest the accused persons but remain unable to prove the charges in the court. “The accused persons were behind the bars for last 20 year which is itself a punishment,” Justice Khosa remarked.

According to the prosecution, Asma, who was a teenager at the time of offence, in connivance with her alleged lover Farhan and their partner Javed had killed her parents and brother on December 30, 1998 in Malir area of the city as her family members were opposing her marriage with Farhan.

The ATC heard the case for nearly a year and found all the accused persons guilty of the offence, awarding capital punishments to them. The fourth accused MohammadWaseem was given 10 years imprisonment by the trial court for ‘facilitating’ the murders.

The convicts had challenged their punishments in the high court just after the verdict of the trial court in 1999.

The SHC division bench, comprising Justice Ali Sain Din Maitlo and Justice Dr. Rana M Shamim, had given the split verdict in 2009. One of the judges of the bench had acquitted the convicts whereas other upheld their death penalties.

After the division bench’s split verdict, then SHC Chief Justice Anwar ZaheerJamali had appointed Justice Abdul RasoolMemon to decide the matter as a referee judge who had also upheld the trial court’s verdict after hearing the case for almost six years.