An anti-terrorism court has sentenced Lashkar-e-Jhangvi hitman Ishaq alias Bobby to death on three counts of murder in a case pertaining to sectarian killing.
Ishaq is a high-profile convict who has been on death row for multiple felonies, including the murder of renowned Qawwali artist Amjad Sabri. This is the third capital punishment among others awarded to him in a month.
On Saturday, the ATC-XVI found him guilty of killing Syed Zakir Hussain, Muhammad Nawaz and Muhammad Younus in firing at Dargah Nazar Ali Shah in Korangi on August 23, 2014.
According to the prosecution, Bobby along with his absconding accomplice shot at the victims and a 12- to 13-year-old boy, who remained unhurt and ran away from the scene. Bobby had been on the run until his arrest in November 2016.
During the trial, the court heard 15 witnesses, including the survivor, who is now 20 years old, and examined the evidence produced by the prosecution and arguments made by the defence. Pronouncing the verdict, the judge observed: âThe prosecution successfully proved the charge against the accused through unimpeachable, reliable, credible, straightforward, direct and corroboratory evidence.â
Besides the death sentences, the court also awarded the convict an imprisonment of 10 years, along with a fine of Rs50,000. The judge also ordered the convict to pay a compensation of Rs200,000 to the legal heirs of each victim, otherwise suffer additional imprisonment of six months.
The judge observed that the offence was a total disregard for human life without any enmity and such deterrent punishment was not only to maintain balance with the gravity of wrong but also to make an example for others as a preventive measure for reformation of the society.
Ishaq Bobby and his accomplice Asim alias Capri face multiple trials in anti-terrorism courts. They have also been convicted by a military court for the murders of Military Police personnel and Sabri.
The profile of the suspects, based on the input from the Counter Terrorism Department, describes them as professional hitmen, experts in killing their targets in public, and radicalised from a tender age.
A peek into their method
On June 22, 2016, Ishaq was waiting at a petrol pump for Asim, who was following Amjad Sabriâs car from his home in Liaquatabad. When Asim reached the place, Ishaq sat on the motorcycle and they continued to tail Sabriâs car.
Upon getting closer to the car, Ishaq fired three shots from behind. A bullet catcher was attached to his pistol. The chamber got stuck. He got down and pulled out another pistol. Fired more shots from the right and from the front. Sabri fell down in the driving seat and the assassins ran away.
After their arrests, the top tier of the LeJ group they belonged to was also arrested. The Inter-Services Public Relations in February 2016 had announced the arrests of the Karachi chief of the organisation, Naeem Bukhari, and the deputy of the Afghanistan-based al Qaedaâs South Asia group, Farooq Bhatti alias Munna, in a press conference at the Karachi Corps Headquarters.