By Ishaq Tanoli
KARACHI, Jan 27: An additional district and sessions court (south) on Tuesday sentenced a man to life imprisonment for killing his wife.
The judge, Nizar Ali Khwaja, found Mohammad Haroon guilty of killing his wife, Sadia, in March 2006 at their home in the Kharadar police limits. The verdict was announced after recording of evidence of witnesses and final arguments from both sides.
The court also directed the convict to pay Rs25,000 to the heirs of the deceased as compensation. In case of default, he would undergo an additional six-month imprisonment.
In its judgment, the court observed that the prosecution had successfully proved its case by producing ample evidence before the trial court, adding that nine witnesses had been examined in the case. The witnesses supported the prosecution case in their testimonies, particularly the evidence of Areeba, the seven-year-old daughter of the deceased. Medico-legal officer Dr Farida Ayaz had also supported the prosecution.
All prosecution witnesses had implicated the accused in the commission of the crime without any contradictions and material discrepancies while the accused had not suggested any enmity or malice to the witnesses and, therefore, the evidence of the witnesses could not be brushed aside. Being material witnesses, they had no reason to implicate the accused in the case, it added.
It further stated that the medical evidence also corroborated the prosecution version with regard to the fire injuries as the MLO pointed out that the reason of the death was the failure of the cardio-respiratory system resulting from the wounds caused by fire.
It said the clothes of the victim and the accused were sent for a chemical examination and the report of the chemical examiner had confirmed that kerosene stains were found on the clothes of the accused.
“I have put the defence version of the accused in juxtaposition and have come to the conclusion that the accused could not shatter the evidence of the prosecution,” the judge said.
The prosecution said the accused was a gambler who used to send his wife to her parents’ home to bring money. On March 10, 2006 he set her on fire in their house in Kharadar when she refused to fetch money.
The victim was taken to hospital in a critical condition. However, she succumbed to the injuries on March 12, the prosecution added.
The police arrested the man a couple of days after the incident.
The prosecution examined nine witnesses, including the father of the deceased and complainant Mohammad Siddique; Mohammad Saqib, Mohammad Aslam, the deceased’s daughter Areeba, brothers Talha and Mohammad Munammil, MLOs Dr Fareeda Ayaz and Dr Mohammad Yahya, and investigation officer Ali Ahmed.
In his final arguments, public prosecutor Abdul Maroof said the accused was nominated in the FIR and his seven-year-old daughter, who was an eyewitness, said in her statement that her father had set her mother on fire.
He further submitted that on her deathbed in the hospital, the victim had stated on March 11 that her husband had set her on fire.
He said the police had also seized a bottle of kerosene from the crime-scene and stains of kerosene were also found on the clothes of the accused, and the same was corroborated by medical evidence.
He contended that the prosecution had successfully proved its case and pleaded that the death penalty be awarded to the accused.
The defence counsel said his client had been implicated in the case and the prosecution had not provided sufficient evidence to prove their case against the accused.
He submitted that there was no eyewitness of the incident while the evidence of Areeba was not trustworthy as she was a minor and she had stayed with her maternal grandparents after the death of her mother.
He concluded that the case of the prosecution was not supported by independent corroborative circumstantial evidence. He pleaded for his client’s acquittal.
A case (FIR 54/06) was registered under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Kharadar police station.
The convict was already in custody and was remanded back to prison with the conviction order to serve the awarded sentence. The court gave the benefit of Section 382-B (period of detention to be considered while awarding sentence of imprisonment) of the Criminal Procedure Code to the convict.