By: Numan Wahab
LAHORE: The defence counsel in Farzana case challenged the jurisdiction of anti terrorism court through a petition here Monday.
Farzana was stoned to death outside the premises of Lahore High Court on May 27. The Punjab chief minister, following directions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had ordered police to refer the case to ATC.
Nevertheless, defence counsel Mansur-ur-Rehman Afridi argued that the case did not fall in the jurisdiction of ATC. He submitted an application before ATC judge Haroon Latif Khan challenging the jurisdiction of ATC to trial the case.
He is likely to give his arguments in support of his claim on Tuesday and the court will most probably decide the jurisdiction of the case the same day.Talking with The News here Monday after submitting his petition, counsel Mansoor-ur-Rehman Afridi implored that he had submitted his petition on two main points:
Firstly, the incident had not taken within the jurisdiction of the Lahore High Court. He claimed that the media had given wrong impression that the incident of Farzana’s stoning to death had taken place within the LHC jurisdiction. He stated that he had strong evidence that it had taken place almost half kilometer away from the court. He quoted a decision of the LHC administration according to which any untoward incident taking place within the premises of LHC would be referred to ATC. However, he claimed that while the incident had not taken place within the LHC limits it should be referred to session court.
Secondly, he argued that Farzana murder case was not a result of an instant act of terrorism but a pre-planned murder as a result of old enmity. He asked how a murder incident which was result of old enmity could be referred to the ATC.
Moreover, he claimed that DIG Investigation Punjab Zulifqar Hameed had already submitted before the LHC that Section 7-ATA did not apply to the instant case so it should be referred to the Session Courts. Mansoor-ur-Rehman advocate had also attached the copy of police statement before the LHC in his petition submitted before the ATC judge.
Farzana Iqbal was allegedly stoned to death by her father and two brothers outside the Lahore High Court on May 27 after she was about to appear before the LHC where she was likely to give her statement in favour of her husband Iqbal with whom she had eloped. Her family claimed that she had married Mazhar Abbas and contracted second marriage without getting divorce from her first husband Mazhar so her second marriage was illegal and un-Islamic.
Police has so far arrested five people in connection with Farzana Bibi case, including her two brothers Zahid Ali and Ghulam Ali, her father Azeem, her former husband Mazhar Abbas and her brother-in-law Jehan Khan.
Farzana Bibi’s elder sister Khalida Bibi had claimed that Farzana was killed by her paramour Iqbal. Later, on her plea, AD&SJ Abdul Qayyum on June 3 had directed the investigation officer (IO) to record the complete version of Farzana’s sister and bring it on record if she produced any evidence.