KARACHI, May 13: An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday sentenced a man to death for kidnapping and killing an eight-year-old girl. The judge, Ghulam Ali Samtio of ATC-1, who conducted the trial, pronounced the verdict after recording final arguments of both sides.
The court also imposed a Rs0.5 million fine on the convict, Tanveer Ahmed, and ordered confiscation of his properties to cover the fine. The convict would have to undergo an additional imprisonment of six months if he failed to pay the fine.
The judge also ordered the convict to pay Rs1 million to the complainant as compensation.
According to the prosecution, Tanveer Ahmed had kidnapped Iqra, 8, on Feb 25, 2007 in the Pakistan Bazaar police limits when she was playing in front of her home. The accused, brother-in-law of the girl’s father, took her to his home and demanded a ransom of Rs500,000 from the victim’s father, Saleem.
Later, the prosecution said, the accused allegedly raped the girl. He then killed her and chopped her body into pieces. Police traced the accused through the calls he had made on the complainant’s cellular phone and arrested him on March 7, 2007.
During the initial interrogation, the convict said he had buried different parts of the victim’s body in Saddar and Mochko areas. The police conducted raids on the specified locations and exhumed the body parts.
According to the judgment, “the prosecution has successfully proved that the accused had kidnapped the girl, kept her in illegal detention at his home and later killed her”. The judge, rejecting the report of the medico-legal officer, said: “However, it was not proved that the deceased girl was raped.” Earlier, the defence counsel, Rana Qayyum, said in his final argument that the prosecution had failed to prove the involvement of his client in the case. He charged that the police had implicated his client and there were contradictions in the statements of the deceased’s parents and the medico-legal officer regarding the age of the girl.
He rejected the medial reports and said that the MLO had wrongly mentioned in the reports that the girl was sexually abused before being killed. He pleaded for the acquittal of his client.
The special public prosecutor, Niamat Ali Randhawa, argued that the prosecution had successfully proved its case against the accused by producing ample evidence in court.
He submitted that the accused had led the police to the areas where he had buried the body parts of the deceased girl and the same were disinterred by the police on his information.
He said that the prosecution had also produced two eyewitnesses, who had seen the accused with the headless body of the girl in Saddar area and both of them had also identified him in court.
He further argued that the accused had also voluntarily testified before a judicial magistrate and in trial courts.
He said that minor contradictions in the statements of the witnesses regarding the age of the girl could not weaken the prosecution’s case.
Controversy over medico-legal report
Mr Randhawa said that the autopsy was not conducted to determine the age of the deceased but to determine as to what kind of weapon was used and whether or not she was tortured or sexually abused before her death.
Mr Randhawa concluded that the accused had kidnapped the girl for ransom, raped her and then brutally killed her.
He, therefore, prayed to the court to sentence the accused to death on two counts.
The court had examined around 13 prosecution witnesses in the case.
The medico-legal officer of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Dr Fareedi, who had conducted an autopsy on Iqra’s body, informed the court in her statement that medical reports had confirmed that the girl was sexually assaulted before being killed and marks of violence were also found on her body.
The investigation officer, Mohammad Ashraf Sherwani, had testified in court said that the accused had made calls on the cellphone of the girl’s father demanding ransom from him.
He said that the call data helped the police in tracing the accused. The IO submitted details of the investigation.
The judicial magistrate, Irshad Hussain Qureshi, testified that police had produced Tanveer Ahmed in his court and he had recorded his confessional statement under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code after completing the legal formalities.
The convict, Tanveer Ahmed, testifying in the trial court, alleged that his step-sister and brother-in-law had implicated him in the case as, according to him, they had borrowed money from him and when after some time he asked them to return the amount, they turned against him.
He said that his brother-in-law, Saleem, was also unhappy over his decision to get married. He also charged that the police had kept him in custody for four days before producing him in court for a remand.
He further said that the police had subjected him to torture during the interrogation and forced him to record a confessional statement before the judicial magistrate. The accused said that he had narrated his ordeal to the judicial magistrate.
A case (FIR 74/2007) was lodged on the complaint of the victim’s father at the Pakistan Bazaar police station under Sections 365-A, 302 and 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) read with Section 7(A), (E), (I) of the Anti-terrorism Act.