‘We have stopped watching TV after that horror video’

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The video clip telecasted on different private television channels on June 8 was the most shocking I have watched in my life and ever since, my children and I have been extremely frightened and stopped watching television,” said Gulnaz Bibi, a prosecution witness in the Sarfaraz Shah extrajudicial murder case, referring to the video of the Rangers personnel shooting at an unarmed youth, after he was accused of committing a robbery in Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park at Boat Basin, Clifton.
She said this while answering questions from the defence counsels during cross examination on Friday, as the anti-terrorism court (ATC) adjourned further proceedings for Saturday (today).
The Investigation Officer of the case, DIG Sultan Khwaja, was also present in the court on Friday after the court took notice if his continued absence during proceedings two days ago.
Earlier, a person, introducing himself as Major Ashfaq from Pakistan Rangers, had moved an application but the judge directed him to bring an authority letter from of the law enforcement agency (Rangers).
Insiders told Pakistan Today that in his application, Major Ashfaq had requested for returning the G3 Rifle (murder weapon) and Rangers mobile that are now in the custody of the court. The same person had tried to meet the judge in his chamber but the judge refused, they added.
Meanwhile, during cross-examination, Gulnaz denied that she had ever known the complainant of the case, Salik Shah, brother of the deceased, nor their family. She also denied that she had approached the police station to record her statement on the victim’s family’s behest, but for want of justice.
Advocate Naimat Ali Randhawa, defending two suspects Manthar Ali and Tariq, inquired from the witness that people normally sleep around 10:00 pm and how could she watch the incident’s footage at 1:30 am. Gulnaz replied that their locality, Hijrat Colony, is supplied with drinking water at 2:30 am and, therefore, all residents have to be awake at that time to fill their water tanks.
On being asked if she had read the 161 statements that have been recorded before the police, the woman answered that she was illiterate and cannot read; however, the police have read the statement to her.
On one occasion, the lady became very angry as the lawyer tried to prove that there was a love affair between Sarfaraz and her. “The deceased was of the age of my son, and I never met him or his family,” she retorted, continuing that the defence counsel may be from a family wherein such relationship are normal but not her.
The judge interrupted and directed the defence lawyer to refrain from asking such questions or mischaracterise the witness.
After the cross-examination of the prosecution witness, ATC-I Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso adjourned the hearing to July 9 (today)
During the last hearing, the witness had stated that she and her 12-year-old son had seen the video footage of Sarfaraz’ murder on television and since then they have become so frightened that they have stopped watching television.
Rangers Sub-Inspector Bahaur Rehman, Lance Naik Liaquat Ali, constables Mohammad Tariq, Minthar Ali, Shahid Zafar, Mohammad Afzal and private contractor Afsar Khan are facing the charge of murdering 22-year-old Sarfaraz Shah on common intention.
Six paramilitary soldiers and a civilian were booked for killing the youth as video footage captured them involved in shooting Sarfaraz to death after the civilian dragged him over to the troops.
According to the prosecution, the youth was killed in an extrajudicial killing by personnel of paramilitary force. The TV footage of Sarfaraz’ killing showed that Rangers shot the unarmed man twice and watched him bleed to death instead of shifting him to a hospital.
The case was registered against the alleged accused at the Boat Basin police under sections 302, 34 and 36 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Another case (FIR 227/2011) under sections 302 and 34 PPC was lodged against the law enforcement personnel visible in the video footage at the same police station on complaint of the victim’s brother Salik Shah, a reporter for a local news TV channel. Later, Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 was also incorporated in FIR.

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