Killer Of Peshawar Blasphemy Accused Files Appeal Against Age-Determination Order

The killer of the blasphemy accused has filed a plea in the Peshawar High Court (PHC), requesting it to set aside a ruling of an anti-terrorism court that ordered a determination of his age through a medical examination.

In a plea, Khalid -- who was arrested after he killed an elderly man accused of blasphemy on July 29 in a courtroom in Peshawar, pleaded the court to direct his under the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018. He said he was under 18 years old as proved by his school documents; therefore, being a minor, he deserved a trial under the juvenile act.

The petitioner claimed that the ATC was transgressing its jurisdiction by ordering age determination in its order on Sept 8 in spite of the presence of legal documents. According to Dawn,  the lawyers of the petitioner -- Shabbir Hussain Gigyani and Enam Khan Yousafzai -- said the investigation officers (IO) had inquired about the age of the suspect and had mentioned it as 17 years.

By ordering the determination of age through a medical examination while ignoring the school certificate, the ATC had violated Section 9 of the juvenile act.

"The plea said Section 8 of the JJSA provided that the investigation officer of in-charge of a police station shall determine age of an accused on basis of his birth certificate, educational certificate or any other pertinent documents and in absence of such documents his age may be determined on basis of medical examination report by a medical officer," reported the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the petitioner has filed another petition with the high court seeking the transfer of his trial from ATC-III to any other court of the competent jurisdiction.

The petition, which was filed under Section 28 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, read with Section 526 of Code of Criminal Procedure, said on the directions of the administrative judge ATC (ATC-II), the prosecution submitted complete challan against the petitioner for trial on Sept 7.

Lawyer arrested in case:

A Pakistani lawyer was later arrested for allegedly giving a pistol to the accused. Nasim Ahmad, a member of the minority Ahmadiyya community, was under police escort when he was fatally shot in court on July 29.

According to investigating officer Lalzada Khan, junior lawyer Tufail Khan was arrested for allegedly providing a pistol to the assassin to kill Nasim. “Tufail was produced before the judge in an anti-terrorism court. He was remanded into police custody for three days,” Khan told AFP.

Lawyers don’t typically undergo a pat-down on going into Pakistan courts, and officials said Tufail had discreetly handed the pistol over to Faisal.

The Ahmadiyya have long faced violence in Pakistan, which forbids community members from self-identifying as Muslims.

The sect, which is rooted in the subcontinent and shuns violence, is considered heretical by many orthodox Muslims for challenging the Islamic belief that the Prophet Mohammed was God’s final messenger.

Blasphemy accusations are highly inflammatory in deeply conservative Pakistan and have in the past sparked mob lynchings, vigilante murders and mass protests.

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