Rawalpindi -  Two senior police officers, who are being imprisoned for 17 years along with a fine of Rs 1 million in BB murder case, have challenged the judgment of anti terrorism court in the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench here on Thursday.

Syed Saud Aziz, the former City Police Officer (CPO) Rawalpindi, and SSP Khurram Shehzad, who was posted as SP Rawal Division in 2007 and is now heading Special Branch of Punjab Police, have filed the petition with LHC. The state and the then Inspector/SHO Police Station (PS) City Kashif Riaz Khan have been made respondents in the case.  They filed an appeal through Raja Ghaneem Aabir Khan under section 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.  An anti terrorism court judge, Muhammad Asghar Khan, has convicted the two senior police officers for mishandling the crime scene where two-time premier BB was murdered by terrorists.

However, the court acquitted the five suspects allegedly linked with the banned outfit TTP for the lack of evidence and faulty investigation conducted by the prosecution.

Raja Ghaneem Aabir Khan, the counsel for the two police officers, argued before the court that the convictions and sentences awarded to the applicants are not maintainable in the circumstances of the case and basis of law thereof.

He added that the depositions of prosecution witnesses are inconsistent and not supported by other pieces of evidence, hence, require re-appreciation. The lawyer said that the learned trial court has failed to appreciate the evidence on record in its true legal perspective and has gone beyond the settled principles of administration of criminal justice. He argued that the co-accused have been convicted for negligence in the performance of their duties. He said that the trial court relied mainly upon the inquiry/investigation reports to pass the impugned judgment in BB murder case. Raja said the conviction under section 119 PPC is not sustainable as the provisions of the said section are not attracted in the case of the appellant. He said the convictions have mainly been recorded on surmises and conjectures.

Saying that they were made scapegoats for the crime, he pleaded the court to overturn the punishment of his clients granted by the anti terrorism court. He added that they had provided foolproof security to PPP slain chairperson in her election campaign rally at Liaquat Bagh. The lawyer told the court that the statements recorded by the prosecution witnesses in the court during the trial were full of contradictions. The proceedings in the case were not conducted according to criminal laws under the Qanoon-i-Shahadat (Law of evidence). He mentioned in the petition that the ATC decision did not consider the inquiry report properly.

He pleaded before the court that anti terrorism court acquitted the five suspects in BB murder case despite their confessions while sentencing the two officers for 17 years on basis of insubstantial evidence. He prayed to the court to set aside the decision of ATC and release his clients in BB murder case.

The LHC Rawalpindi Bench accepted the plea for hearing. The court may take on the petition of the two senior police officers during next week. Syed Saud Aziz, who has recently been promoted to the rank of AIG, is charged with removing SP Ashfaq Anwar from Liaquat Bagh while leaving BB at the mercy of terrorists. He was also charged for not ordering the post-mortem of BB after her death. SSP Khurram Shehzad Haider is charged for hosing down the crime scene and destroying substantial evidence that could lead investigators to the terrorists who launched the gun and bomb attack on BB on December 27, 2007.

 

 

ISRAR AHMED