SHC upholds death sentence of policeman’s murderer

Jamal Khurshid
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday dismissed the appeal of a convict and upheld his death sentence in a policeman’s killing case. The court also maintained the two-year imprisonment of a police sub-inspector for demonstrating negligence in the escape of prisoners.

Mohammad Imtiaz had been sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court for murdering a police constable Rafiq Ismail and injuring Daim Arbani in the Korangi area during his escape from police custody on September 30, 2016. The court had also sentenced sub-inspector Abdul Wasay Jokhio for two years in jail.

According to the prosecution, Jokhio, an investigating officer, along with two constables, Ismail and Arbani, was returning to the Korangi police station in a private vehicle after obtaining police remand of murder suspects Imtiaz and Abdul Malik.

The prosecution alleged that Imtiaz and Malik used official weapons to kill PC Rafiq and injure PC Daim, and succeeded in escaping due to the negligence of SI Jokhio. Imtiaz’s counsel claimed that this was a case of mistaken identity because his client was in Punjab at the time of the murder, saying that it was the other accused who had killed the PC and injured another. He added that there was a major contradiction in the prosecution’s case.

The additional prosecutor general supported the trial court’s order and said that the sole eyewitness had correctly identified the appellant who had fired upon him and the deceased PC, and requested that the court dismiss the appeal.

An SHC division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha said that in order to make his escape good, the appellant shot dead a policeman and seriously injured another, who is paralysed and has the quality of his life greatly reduced, making life difficult for his family.

The court said that murdering the cop and inflicting serious injury on another was premeditated because they were not even given a chance to surrender, adding that the actions were committed in cold blood by a hardened criminal.

The bench said that it had not found any mitigating circumstances to reduce the sentence of the appellant as his motive for the murder was to escape custody in respect of serious crimes at any cost, including cold blooded, premeditated murder of a policeman, which is crime against society because it is the duty of the police to protect society.

The court said that if someone murders a cop in a premeditated manner, the only appropriate sentence is a deterrent one in order to deter others from murdering cops while carrying out their lawful duty because if a policeman can be murdered in such a callous manner, the accused would not think twice before murdering an ordinary citizen.

The bench said that such persons must be sent a loud and clear message by the courts that if it is proven that they have caused the premeditated murder of a policeman carrying out his lawful duty, they will not be spared by the courts. The court said the prosecution had proved its case against the appellant, and upheld his death sentence.

Regarding the sentence of the sub-inspector, the bench said that it appears that Jokhio’s pistol was lying negligently in his vehicle, which was found by Imtiaz, who shot the PC and injured another. The court also dismissed Jokhio’s appeal, and upheld the sentence awarded to him by the trial court.