ISLAMABAD - Zain’s mother is not interested in pursuing her son’s murder case as she seemed to be under tremendous pressure, but denied this publicly.
“I do not like to pursue the case,” Ghazala Rauf, the mother of the class 9 student, said, while talking to media persons at the Supreme Court parking after the case hearing yesterday. However, she was quick to say, “I am not under any pressure and have not pardoned anyone.”
Zain Rauf was allegedly killed in Lahore on April 1 by Mustafa Kanju, the son of former minister of state for foreign affairs, Siddique Kanju.
Earlier, Zain’s mother appeared before a three-judge bench, along with her two daughters and brothers, including Sohail Afzal who had filed complaint against Mustafa Kanju.
At the onset of the hearing, when the judge called her at the rostrum, she seemed bit frightened. Justice Amir Hani Muslim asked her to tell about the incident. She replied that the court had summoned her, so she had come.
However, Ghazala said she cannot fight the accused as they are very powerful and influential, adding she has two daughters and doesn't have resources to ‘fight these people’. “My son has been killed and I have accepted this great loss as the will of God,” she said.
Justice Hani asked the women whether her brother became party to the case with her consent. She replied, no.
The judge, sensing the woman was not feeling comfortable to speak in the open court, decided to record her statement in the chamber.
He, however, said prima facie it seemed the judge of the anti-terrorism court has not done justice the way the case was heard. He asked the deceased’s mother not to be afraid as policemen would not harass her, adding the state would now contest this case as it is its responsibility to bring the accused to justice.
As the bench re-assembled in the courtroom at 12:30pm after hearing the matter in chamber, the prosecutor general said the Punjab government had filed an appeal in the Lahore High Court on last Saturday against the anti-terrorism court’s verdict.
An eminent senior lawyer, Ilyas Siddique, said a case ends when the complainant and eyewitnesses pull out from their statements.
According to the prosecution, there are total 32 witnesses of whom eight are private.
The ATC neither recorded the statements of official witnesses nor did it examine the official record, the prosecutor general said.
Justice Hani asked the Punjab prosecutor what the apex court should do as the chief justice of Pakistan has taken a suo motu notice of the acquittal of the alleged murderer and his accomplices.
Prosecutor General Syed Ehtesham Qadir replied, ‘let the high court decide the appeal so that it may not cause prejudice to any party.”
He said the trial court had not heard the case properly, adding the opportunity was not given to cross-examine the witnesses. Sohail Afzal, uncle of Zain who had earlier given statement that he had seen the crime site, later denied visiting that place. “We will challenge his (Sohail’s) statement in the high court.” “The trial court had failed to do justice in that case,” he said.
The prosecutor general also said the investigation officer himself had seen the witnesses taking money from the accused. He said, according to the IO’s statement, the witnesses met the accused on the trial court’s premises after the hearing and received money in an envelope.
The court had asked the prosecutor general to provide a copy of the appeal and other material. Justice Hani said the bench would pass an appropriate order in view of the appeal and the record.
The IGP Punjab was directed to take back Zain’s mother and relatives in safe custody.