Sialkot lynching case: 7 sentenced to death

GUJRANWALA: An anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala on Tuesday awarded death sentences to seven men on four counts and life imprisonment to six others besides sentencing three years’ imprisonment each to all police officials, including former Sialkot DPO Waqar Ahmad Chohan, in the Sialkot lynching case.

The court of Mushtaq Ahmad Gondal announced its verdict an hour before midnight in the court room of the Gujranwala Central Jail where proceedings had been going on since Tuesday afternoon. The judge took hours to reach a decision before announcing it in a packed court room. Those who were sentenced to death were Muhammad Amin, Jamil, Ali Raza alias Peter, Rashid, Muhammad Iqbal, Sarfraz Ahmad and Shafique alias Fauji.

Those given life imprisonment include Ateeb alias Nosha, Asghar Ali, Qaisar, Hassan Raza, Muhammad Waris and Jamshaid. The court acquitted five accused. Former DPO Chohan, SHO Rana Ilyas, ASI Muhammad Waris, constables Bashir Ahmad, Tariq Mahmood, Muhammad Akram, Mubarak Ali, Naseer Ahmad and Muhammad Yasin were awarded three years in prison under 155-C of the Police Act. Teenaged brothers, Hafiz Mughees and Hafiz Muneeb, were mercilessly tortured to death by a mob in the presence of police officials in Buttar Village in Sialkot on August 15, 2010.

Sialkot Saddar police station lodged two FIRs, the first on August 15 in which the two brothers were accused of murder and robbery while the second was lodged after the video of the lynching was released by news channels leading to a suo motu notice by the Supreme Court. According to TV reports, the family of the two boys expressed satisfaction at the verdict. The boys’ grandfather said the family had been receiving threats to stop following the case but they had vowed not to let the killers escape justice. – PT