National News

Top court acquits three men sentenced by BHC for involvement in 2011 bus carnage

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday acquitted three men who had been sentenced by the Balochistan High Court (BHC), and imprisoned for seven years, for their involvement in an attack on a passenger bus in Sibi, citing a lack of evidence.

The men, Rehmatullah, Abdul Rehman and Murad Ali, were accused of setting a passenger bus that was en route to Quetta on fire when it stopped over in Sibi, killing 15 people.

The BHC had taken up the case in 2011 and handed a death penalty to Rehmatullah, life imprisonment to Abdul Rehman and a 14-year jail sentence to Murad Ali.

They had filed an appeal against the verdict in the apex court in 2017.

During today’s hearing in the SC, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who was heading the three-judge bench, said that the BHC had announced the verdict in a “rush”.

He also observed that the BHC had approved a trial court’s sentence of 14 years for a crime that only warranted a 10-year jail sentence.

“The high court has a high stature, but how can we pay heed to verdicts like these?” he questioned.

“Justice is blind, but it is not rushed,” he said, adding that the prosecution had been “unable to bring forth any evidence to prove that the accused were involved in a crime”. Therefore, the court today decided to “give them the benefit of doubt” and acquit them.