KARACHI: The Anti-Terrorism Court-VII (ATC-VII) on Thursday postponed the pronouncement of its verdict in the Parveen Rehman murder case at the eleventh hour.
The decision was made after the new prosecutor of the case filed an application requesting the court allow him to file an amended charge against the accused.
Renowned human rights activist and head of Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), Rehman was killed while she was on her way home from her office by assailants on the Main Road near the Banaras flyover on March 13, 2013.
Abdul Rahim Swati, his son Mohammad Imran Swati and Ayaz Shamzai, Amjad Hussain Khan and Ahmed Khan aka Ahmed Ali aka Pappu Kashmiri were charged with the high-profile murder of the 55-year-old activist.
When the court, housed at Judicial Complex inside Central Prison Karachi, assembled for pronouncing its verdict on Thursday special public prosecutor Neel Parkash moved an application on behalf of the state. The verdict was reserved on October 15.
The new prosecutor submitted that he had recently been assigned to present the case which had entirely been proceeded by his predecessors in different courts.
The prosecutor stated that he had gone through the confessional statement of the main accused Muhammad Raheem, alias Raheem Swati, which he had recorded before the then SSP Investigation-(I) West Zone Akhtar Farooqui under the Section 21-H of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
Parkas further stated that he had also gone through the statement recorded before the court by SSP Farooqui. He added that the cop had deposed about hatching of a conspiracy by the accused of committing Rahman’s murder which is a matter of record.
The prosecutor submitted that after carefully reading the entire evidence he had made his mind for framing additional charges against the accused of hatching conspiracy to kill Rahman.
The judge issued notices of the application to the counsel for the complainant, and defence counsel for the accused persons for November 3, 2021
Till then, the judge deferred the pronouncement of his verdict in the case.
The court had reserved its verdict after the counsel for the complainant, special public as well as defence concluded their final arguments.
The counsel for the complainant submitted in his final arguments that Swati had got recorded his confessional statement before then SSP Akhtar Farooqui, under Section 21-H of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. In the statement, he had disclosed that local leaders of the Awami National Party (ANP) had allegedly hired Taliban militants to kill Rahman.
According to the confessional statement, the counsel argued that Shamzai and Swati were leaders of the ANP, and living near the OPP office. They had allegedly tried to obtain an area to build a karate centre, but Rahman refused.
The counsel apprised the court that Rehman’s murder was planned in a meeting at Swati’s residence, which was located opposite to OPP office.
The counsel contended that in an interview to a foreign radio service two years before her murder, Rahman had called Rahim Swati a “land grabber and extortionist”. She had also alleged that the accused wanted to illegally occupy the land of the OPP’s office.
He had argued that Rahman’s interview corroborated the confessional statement of accused Swati.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and others had approached the Supreme Court praying for impartial re-investigation and fair trial of the case submitting that investigation conducted thus far failed to identify the mastermind behind the targeted killing.
Since after her murder, several investigation teams were constituted to probe the matter. Even a judicial inquiry, conducted by a Karachi district and sessions judge, had failed to make any progress.
The apex court after conducting 40 hearings in more than six years in January 2021 disposed of the petition.