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Bahria Town drag race: Two weeks given to bring culprits to justice

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a final deadline to the government to take appropriate measures to bring the culprits of illegal Bahria Town car race to justice.

Showing displeasure over the apathetic conduct of the interior and foreign affairs ministries, the court directed them to extradite Atif Sheikh, the main accused, from Dubai to Pakistan.

Five people lost their lives in the drag race which took place last year.
A three-member bench headed by Justice Javed Iqbal and comprising Justice Raja Fayyaz and Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali conducted the hearing of the suo motu case regarding deadly car race on December 5 last year. The court directed that the matters be disposed of within two weeks.

The apex court directed the trial courts to resolve the matter without being influenced from any front. “They should continue their work and settle the matter as per the legal procedure,” ordered the SC. Investigation Officer in the case DIG Major (retd) Mubashirullah submitted before the court that the challans of the case could not be completed as yet because Sheikh was still abroad.

He said the police had nominated four accused in the case. Additional Advocate General, Punjab, Khadim Hussain Qaiser informed the court that Atif Sheikh, the main accused, being the son-in-law of Tariq Aziz, advisor to the Security Council during Pervez Musharraf regime, is influential and so the authorities so far have been unable to bring him back.

The officials of the ministries of foreign affairs and interior informed the court that they had sent a team to Dubai but due to incomplete documentation, repatriation of Sheikh could not be made possible.
Justice Javed Iqbal, the senior most judge of the apex court, observed that the relevant authorities have failed to take appropriate measures for extraditing Sheikh to Pakistan.

Mother of Majid Naeem, driver of the car that lost control and crashed into the spectators, prayed that her son was languishing in the jail for the last five months. She said her son voluntarily surrendered himself. “It was not his fault, and he was not even released on bail,” she said. As a result of this accident five persons, including 11-year-old Asfand Yar, died on the spot.

Earlier, Advocates Malik Waheed Anjum and Zulfiqar Naqvi, lawyers of Waleed Aman, Adil Naeem and Colonel (retd) Raffaqat had informed the court that the victims’ families have recorded statement before the trial court but the matter was not settled as the case is pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

After the court hearing, the relatives of Majid Naeem, driver of the car, told The Express Tribune that it was an astonishing thing that influential people were roaming freely but poor employees are being kept behind bars.

“The owner of Bahria Town, Ali Riaz, son of property tycoon Malik Riaz, the main organiser of the car race, Atif Sheikh and high ups of the sponsor companies are being exempted,” said Naeem’s family. The entire responsibility has been shifted on the shoulders of low-ranked employees, they complained.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also observed this discrimination by the police officers and other state functionaries during many past hearings of the case. Due to his visit to Karachi, Justice Chaudhry could not attend the Tuesday’s proceedings of the case. The court had already asked Hamid Khan, the lawyer of Ali Riaz, that as per Motor Vehicles Ordinance, the owner of Bahria Town was also equally responsible for the tragic incident.

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