Man handed down life term for murdering transgender person.

Aqil Bashir was charged with the murder of 35-year-old Shabbir alias Shabana alias Annie Khan, who was found dead in a flat in Dupatta Gali within the jurisdiction of the Ferozeabad police station on April 13, 2019.

Additional Sessions Judge Abdul Hafeez Maitlo announced the verdict he had reserved after recording evidence and arguments from the defence and prosecution sides. He found the accused guilty of committing the ‘qatl-e-amd’ of Shabana — an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) — and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

The convict was told to pay Rs300,000 as compensation to the legal heirs of the deceased and on default he would have to undergo additional imprisonment of five months. The judge observed that the prosecution established its charge against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt through cogent evidence. However, he pointed out that there are “mitigating circumstances” that cannot be overlooked.

“[As] per case of prosecution, the PWs [prosecution witnesses] have not seen the present accused at the spot [of the incident] while causing injuries [to the deceased] and case is based on last seen evidence and chain of circumstantial evidence,” he noted and added considering such mitigating circumstance, the accused was sentenced to life in prison.

He said the accused had nothing to say in his defence except that he was innocent and had falsely been implicated in the case. The accused’s mere assertion that he was innocent did not negate the entire prosecution evidence and exonerate him from every liability, he maintained.

“The plain reading of evidence brought on record during the trial shows that the defence has not been able to shatter the testimony of prosecution witnesses,” the judge said, ruling out ill will on part of the complainant and witnesses to implicate the accused.

He maintained that as per the ocular account of the evidence, a prosecution witness had seen the accused with the deceased while another witness had spotted the latter lying in an injured condition and the former with a knife. Medical evidence placed on record also corroborated the prosecution’s claim that Shabana died due to injuries caused by a sharp-edged weapon, he added.

An FIR was registered at the Ferozabad police station under Section 302 of the PPC on the complaint of the victim’s paternal cousin, Allah Jaya. In the FIR, the complainant, a rickshaw driver, had stated that his cousin, Shabana, had been residing with members of the transgender community in Karachi for the past ten to eleven years and would make a living by performing at dancing functions.

On April 13, Jewaya said he came to know that some unknown persons had murdered his cousin due to some personal enmity, and when he reached the Edhi mortuary where his body had been shifted from Jinnah Hospital, he saw knife wounds on his head, face and other body parts.

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