Man jailed over false charges released after 10 years


–Bench nullifies trial court decision, says no evidence of suspect’s involvement in murder

LAHORE: A man languishing in jail for the past ten years was finally acquitted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) after the prosecution failed to bring strong evidence against him in a triple murder case.

Tajammul Enayat, the appellant, was awarded death sentence on three counts by a trial court in Sargodha District on September 19, 2009, over charges of murdering Sillanwali Tehsil Nazim Changaiz Shaukat and his two guards Mumtaz alias Papu and Muhammad Aslam.

Subsequently, a case had been registered at a police station in Sargodha district in 2009.

LHC two-member bench, comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan and Justice Shehram Sarwar Ch, declared Tajamul Enayat innocent, declaring the trial court void.

After hearing the lengthy arguments of both sides, the bench acquitted Tajamul on the ground that there was no evidence of his involvement in the murder.

“If the three main accused, including Tariq Nisar, Akhtar Nisar, and Abdul Sattar, were acquitted by the trial court then how can the court sentence a person, against whom no evidence was found.

The bench also declared another man namely Haji Ahmad innocent who was declared proclaimed offender earlier but later joined the investigation in 2017.

Earlier, a trial court in Sargodha district convicted three persons including Tajmul Enayat, Haji Ahmad and Abdullah Nawab. However, one Abdullah Nawab lost his life in jail while two others had been declared innocent.

After the acquittal of Tajamul Enayat and Haji Ahmad, all suspects nominated in the case are free now.

It may also be mentioned here that there is no compensation or state policy if anyone languishing in the jails over false charges for years is later acquitted.

Shaukat Hayat, the father of the deceased, lodged the FIR no. 211/2009 under Section 302, 324, 427, 148, 149 of Pakistan Penal Code with Shah Nikadar Police station in Sargodha against 10 suspects including the then MPA from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Rana Munawar Ghaus, Tariq Nisar, Akhtar Nisar, Abdul Sattar, Haji Ahmad, Abdullah Nawab, Shahid, Tajamul Enayat, Mumtaz Aziz and Gulzar Aziz.

The complainant alleged that his son Changaiz Shaukat was the political rival of Rana Munawar Ghaus in area of PP-36, Sillanwali, Sargodha and that he got his son murdered due to a political rivalry.

Arguing before the division bench of the LHC headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, Advocate Saiqa Javed said that the trial court had accepted the alibi (not present at the place of occurrence) moved by three main accused and acquitted them in the case.

from the charges of murder. She said if the main accused had been declared innocent and the prosecution failed to come up with the evidence against them then how Tajamul Enayat could be awarded death sentence and kept in the jail.

She said there was no evidence against him, praying the bench that appeal be allowed and the accused be freed from the charges.

Talking to Pakistan Today, senior lawyer and former SCBA Secretary Aftab Bajwa said that poor laws of the country are the major reasons for such issues.

He said in every criminal case, challan is required to be submitted before the courts within 15 days of the period since the occurrence of an incident but usually, the challans are not submitted.

Sometimes medical reports are not prepared and submitted timely and sometimes police fail to collect evidence due to which the evidence against a suspect is damaged, he added.

“It is overall the system—the prosecution system that fails to collect and secure the evidence and later to produce it before the court for timely justice,” said Aftab Bajwa.

“There is a great need for revision of centuries-old laws we are relying upon to deliver justice. Police training is also immediately required as to how to collect the evidence and preserve the same for timely justice,” he added.