The anti-terrorism court in Lahore on Thursday has acquitted all suspects in the Sahiwal encounter case giving them the benefit of doubt.
The verdict was announced by the court after the suspects’ lawyers completed a cross-questioning of the testimonies of government witnesses. The court issued its verdict after holding hearings for the case for nine months.
The case was being heard by Anti-Terrorism Court Number 1 Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta. The suspects Safdar Hussain, Ahsan Khan, Ramzan, Saifullah, Hasnain, and Nasir Nawaz appeared before the court.
The court dismissed the statements given by 49 witnesses including victim Zeeshan’s brother Ehtisham and children of Khalil. The witnesses refused to identify the suspects before the court.
Earlier this year on January 19, four people, including three of a family, were killed in an alleged shootout in Sahiwal, with the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel claiming they had killed a local commander of militant organization Daesh and three others in the operation.
The accused CTD officials had shot four people dead, including a teenage girl and her parents. The officials had claimed that the victims were killed in an ‘encounter’, but their statement was called into question after two children, who were also present in the car at the time of the incident, told that the family, along with one of their neighbours, were going to attend a wedding.