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SC acquits death row prisoner in Rawalpindi’s Qasim Market bombing case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday acquitted a suspect, Umer Adeel Khan, sentenced to death on 20 counts following the lack of evidence over his alleged role in a 2007’s suicide blast near a bus in Rawalpindi’s Qasim Market, ARY News reported.

The top court annulled the verdict of the high court against the death row prisoner Umer Adeel Khan which had previously retained the order of a trial court for his death sentence on 20 counts.

He was facing charges of facilitating the suicide bomber targeted a security agency vehicle in Qasim Market of Rawalpindi city on September 4 – 2007. At least 20 people had lost their lives and dozens received serious injuries following the bomb explosion.

During the hearing, the lawyers continued arguments through video link from the apex court’s Lahore Registry.

Amjad Rafique, who was representing the Punjab government, said that it was a targeted attack as three persons had entered into the bus and later two among them came out. The bomber had exploded himself when the car departed from the crime scene, he said.

Read: Contradictory statements: SC acquits two murder suspects after 12 years

To this, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa questioned for the reason over failure to trace the name of the person who had rented the car for 11 months.

Justice Sardar Tariq Mehmood remarked that the police authorities should provide a solid reason for delaying arrest of the accused person if his name was known.

Rafique replied the authorities had continued searching the accused person in that period. Justice Mehmood remarked, “The name of the suspect did not appear on the record for 11 months, then how can you say that a search was continued for him.”

The government’s lawyer pleaded the top court for not overseeing the case as a normal incident as 20 precious lives of servicemen had been lost in the bombing.

Justice Khosa made key remarks during the hearing, saying that the law is equivalent to every citizen of the country. He asked the lawyer to bring legislations if he needed to try cases in different aspects.

Read: ‘Lack of evidence’: SC acquits rape convict after five years

The chief justice said that two police officers had been brought as witnesses in the case who cannot say no for opposing the orders. He continued that the investigators did not even find an eyewitness from a busy market.

“If the testimony is not made following the law, then we cannot do anything. We need solid evidence to prove someone guilty but weaker evidence was brought in this case. The prosecution has also failed to prove the association of the accused person with any proscribed organisation.”

Justice Khosa remarked that the judges remember their oath to be answerable before the Allah Almighty whether they give the verdict in accordance with the law or not.

Later, the court acquitted the death row prisoner, Umar Adeel, over lack of evidence for his alleged involvement in the Qasim Market bombing case.

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