A west district model trial court handed down death penalty on two counts to each of the four suspects accused of killing a man and injuring two others during an armed robbery.
Additional Sessions Judge Ameeruddin also imposed a fine of Rs0.5 million on each of the accused including Umair, Shahrukh, Zeeshan and Adnan.
The condemned persons along with two other suspects barged into the scrap shop of Muhammad Abbas and his brothers in August 2018. They were busy looting, when the victim’s father reached and raised an alarm on which the robbers shot him and fled.
While penning the 30-page verdict the judge said that the accused have been given death sentence for the murder of complainant’s father Haji Bashir Ahmed and also for the armed robbery.
The circumstances of this case imply that no mitigating factors are present to warrant a lesser punishment for the convicts. As such, they have been sentenced to death, hanging by neck until they are dead, he stated, giving the convicts seven days to file an appeal against the sentence.
Judge Ameeruddin stated, “This court comprehends the seriousness of this crime, which strikes at the very core of public safety and security, inflicting physical harm, psychological distress, and financial harm upon its victims. Broadly, the ramifications of such crimes are far-reaching, hindering economic and social advancement in the city, and chipping away at the very bedrock of public safety.”
Against this backdrop, the court acknowledges the significance of imposing stringent penalties upon those found culpable for organised gang robbery, he wrote in the detailed judgment.
As per the prosecution’s case, on August 20, 2018, complainant Muhammad Abbas lodged an FIR stating that he, along with his brothers Muhammad Ismail and Muhammad Ishfaque, and labourers Malik Abid Hussain and Haji Khan, were present at his scrap shop.
At approximately 1:45pm, six individuals riding three motorcycles barged into the shop and began ransacking their possessions. At this point, Haji Basheer Ahmed, the complainant’s father, arrived at the scene and raised an alarm, on which the culprits opened fire. As a result, Haji Basheer Ahmed, Malik Abid Hussain, and Haji Khan sustained severe bullet injuries.
The dacoits took Rs2,100 from Abbas and Rs5,000 from Ismail and fled. However, Abbas and his associates attempted to apprehend the fleeing culprits, resulting in the capture of one, later identified as Umair.
In the meantime, the police mobile of Surjani Town police station reached and took the apprehended dacoit in custody.
Umair also revealed the name of his absconding companion as Haris Siraiki, who is still at large.
Haji Basheer Ahmed died on the spot, while Abid Hussain and Haji Khan sustained serious bullet injuries. The complainant transported his father’s body to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital via private vehicles and then reported the incident to the police station who registered the FIR.
During interrogation Umair spilled the beans about other gang members who were later rounded up and presented before the court.
Stern penalties needed
Judge Ameeruddin said the curse of snatching and robberies in Karachi has cast a pall over the metropolis, striking at the very essence of public safety and security. The criminal gangs involved in dacoities resort to violence to perpetrate their wicked schemes. The magnitude of this crime can inflict severe physical and psychological harm upon its victims, fostering an atmosphere of trepidation and uncertainty among the populace.
Furthermore, it can impede economic and social progress in the city, hampering development and fracturing social cohesion. “In such circumstances, I am compelled to adopt a policy of zero tolerance against those who engage in organized gang robbery and dacoity, if the case is proven against them,” he wrote.
“As a judge I believe, the justice system must utilise its formidable authority to exact stern penalties upon the perpetrators of these crimes, serving as a potent deterrent against future commission of such heinous acts. It is only through such concerted efforts that we can hope to eradicate this scourge from the city and restore a sense of safety and security to the citizens of Karachi,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2023.