The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) has given verdict on the murder case of Geo TV report Wali Khan Babar, awarding death sentences to two, and life imprisonment to 4 accused – all belonging to MQM.
Wali Babar was murdered in Liaquatabad area of Karachi on January 13, 2011, on his way home from work. The death of Wali Babar followed with a killing spree which left the witnesses, lawyers and policemen working on the case dead.
The case has been recently shifted from Karachi to interior Sindh as it was impossible for the prosecutors and witnesses to attend the hearings in Karachi due to constant threats and attempts on their lives.
Judge Mushtaq Leghari of the ATC Kandhkot, pronounced the verdict inside the penitentiary heavily guarded by the police and Frontier Constabulary personnel, reports Express Tribune.
Chronology of Wali Babar murder and events that followed:
- Geo Tv reporter Wali Babar was killed on January 13, 2011. He was 28 years old.
- Police arrested four suspects, including Faisal Mehmood alias Nafsiyati, Naveed alias Polka, Muhammad Ali Rizvi, Shahrukh alias Manni and Shakil Malik in the city on April 7, 2011. However, the trial was stalled as six witnesses associated with the case were killed in targeted attacks in different parts of the city.
- Investigators submitted the final charge-sheet on April 25, declaring the arrested accused and the absconders as murderers of the journalist.
- Initially, the trial court framed the charges against the accused on October 21, 2011, but they were finally arraigned in the case on February 27, 2012.
- Liaquat, one of the accused nominated in Wali Babar murder, was killed in a Police encounter in Karachi on May 26, 2012.
- On October 19, 2012, the Sindh High Court directed the concerned ATC to wrap up the case within 45 days. Later, SHC Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar on the provincial home department’s request transferred the trial from the anti-terrorism court of Karachi to the anti-terrorism court in Kashmore-Kandhkot district on November 8.
- Pronouncing the verdict on Saturday, March 01, 2014, Judge Leghari convicted two absconding accused Faisal Mehmood and Kamran Zeeshan to death sentences. Four co-accused were hand down a life term. The court, however, acquitted Shakil Malik of the charges, observing that the prosecution failed to establish the allegations levelled against him and the eyewitness failed to identify him.
The killers of Wali Babar have been awarded the sentences in absentia. It is rumored that they have left Pakistan. The lawyer of accused is a sitting MNA of MQM. He was not present in the court when the verdict was delivered.