10 May 2023 :

The Sindh High Court on May 8, 2023 commuted the death penalty of two appellants to life imprisonment in a murder case.
An antiterrorism court had sentenced Mohammad Qasier and Mohammad Sohail to death in September last year for kidnapping and murdering 15-year-old Junaid in March 2019.
Both convicts, through their lawyers, challenged the trial court order before the high court and after hearing both sides and examining the evidence, a division bench headed by Justice K. K. Agha commuted the death sentence to life term.
The bench in its verdict observed that the prosecution had proved its case against the appellants, adding that the case was based on circumstantial evidence as there was no eyewitness or a last seen witness.
It further noted that both the appellants had recorded their confessional statements before a judicial magistrate and the confessions appeared to have been made voluntarily.
The bench said that both the appellants had also worked together and lived close to each other and planned to abduct the victim boy for demanding a ransom from his father. However, they killed him as they feared the boy could identify them if released.
About offences under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the court noted that there was no evidence to prove that the crime was committed with a design, intention or purpose to create terror, but rather to extort money by way of ransom and the provisions of ATA were not applicable in the case.
“Although the evidence suggests that the motive behind the abduction was to receive a ransom for the return of the abducted Junaid we find that although money may have been collected in case that situation arose no actual demand for ransom has been proven by the prosecution through either ocular evidence or other forms of evidence for example audio recording and as such we acquit the appellants for the offence under Section 365-A of PPC,” the bench ruled.
Regarding sentencing, the bench noted that since the case was based on circumstantial evidence and there was need to show extra caution, the death penalty was being reduced to life imprisonment.
According to the prosecution, the victim went missing on March 11, 2019 and on April 6 his mobile phone was activated. The police traced the man, Waseem Nadir, who was using the phone and he told investigators that he had purchased the cell phone from one Sohail. The police managed to arrest Sohail and his accomplice Qaiser and they both confessed to have kidnapping and killed the boy. The police recovered parts of the victim’s body on a lead provided by the appellants.


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