KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has given a last chance to Bilal Mustafa Khar, the prime suspect in the notorious Fakhra Younus acid attack case, to file his reply to a petition seeking re-trial.
Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar, who headed the bench, ordered the respondent, who is the son of former Punjab governor and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Ghulam Mustafa Khar to file a response either personally or through his lawyer by May 5.
This direction came when the judges were informed that the respondent has failed to appear despite the fact that the notice, issued on several occasions, had finally been served to Khar.
Twelve years after the case first surfaced, three human rights organisations approached the court to seek justice for the victim’s family. Younus had been allegedly attacked by Bilal in the year 2000. She had subsequently jumped to her death in Rome, Italy, on March 17, 2012.
Three human rights bodies had challenged the suspect’s acquittal by the sessions judge.
The petitioners, including the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Shirkat Gah and Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, claimed that the acquittal on December 16, 2003, came because the four eyewitnesses refused to identify Bilal in the trial court due to his ‘influence’. The trial court had also failed to consider the evidence available on record, they alleged.
The high court was pleaded to summon the entire record relating to Younus’ case from the trial court, examine it and remand it back to the court for a retrial. According to the petitioners’ lawyer, Faisal Siddiqui, the government had enacted the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act 2011. The case should be re-investigated under these laws, he said.
On Monday, the court was informed that the notice issued previously through the Muzzafar Garh district and sessions judge had successfully been served to the respondent, but he did not appear in court.
Taking exception of such an attitude, the judges gave him a last chance to appear in the court and file his comments by May 5.