The provincial authorities have sent a petition to the president of Pakistan seeking pardon for the five Rangers personnel who were convicted by Anti-Terrorism Court over charges of killing a student in Karachi in 2011, it emerged on Sunday.
The young man was shot at by the Rangers personnel at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park in Boat Basin area of Clifton in 2011 and was then left to die inside the park.
The officials in Sindh Home Department and Inspector General of Prisons office told Dawn on Sunday that a month ago, the “petition to grant pardon and remit/commute sentences of Rangers personnel under Article-45 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan” was sent to the president.
The fatal shooting was filmed by a cameraman and telecast on various TV channels, sparking a public backlash over the brutality of trained paramilitary troops.
Families of the convicted Rangers personnel approached the prison officials, subsequently, the IGP Prisons sent an application to the Home Department, the officials said.
The Home Department Secretary then submitted a summary before the Sindh chief minister, which was approved and sent to the Governor House.
As per procedure, the Governor’s House has moved the summary to the prime minister’s house to seek opinion and submit the same before the president for the pardon of the convicted personnel.
A section of media on Sunday reported that the president has granted pardon to the convicted Rangers personnel namely Shahid Zafar, Muhammad Afzal Khan, Baha-ur-Rehman, Muhammad Tariq and Manthar Ali.
However, Dawn talked to four officials in the home department and the Central Prisons Karachi who confirmed that the pardon petition was moved a month ago, but so far the provincial authorities concerned have not received any official confirmation of the president’s pardon.
It may be recalled that Constable Shahid Zafar was awarded the death penalty and his colleagues were jailed for life for the murder under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.
The killing of Sarfraz Shah had triggered public outcry, prompting the then chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, to take suo moto notice in this regard.
Subsequently, the both the Rangers chief and the Sindh IGP were removed over orders of the supreme court.
In 2013, Rangers personnel had shot dead a taxi driver in a Gulistan-i-Jauhar locality when he reportedly failed to stop his car after being asked to do so by the officials.