Blast accused sentenced to death in AJK
29 December 2004
Our Staff Correspondent
Muzaffarabad: A district criminal court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday handed down capital punishment for 10 times to an accused of a deadly bomb blast in the region five years ago which had killed 10 people. The prosecution had accused Shabbir Bhatti, a Muslim Indian agent from the occupied Kashmir, of carrying out the blast in Islamgarh town, southern Mirpur district, on Dec 17, 1999. Twenty others, mostly teenaged boys, had been injured in the blast. The victims were watching a street entertainer after Friday prayers when the blast ripped through the bazaar. Police arrested the suspect three days after the incident near the LoC in Kotli district. He was carrying a fake identity card. According to court officials, the trial had begun in early 2000 and over the course of hearing, 52 witnesses had been examined by the court. The judgment was delivered on Wednesday in the southern Mirpur town on the basis of evidence and record, the officials said. The district criminal court, comprising district and sessions judges Abdul Rashid Salaria and district Qazi Maqboolur Rehman, held that the accused had mercilessly killed and wounded innocent people for personal gains and did not deserve any clemency. The court also jailed him for life in Explosive Substances Act, sentenced him to 10-year rigorous imprisonment for attempts to murder and another 10-year imprisonment. He was also directed to pay Rs50,000 and Rs25,000 to critically and slightly wounded victims, respectively. In default of payment of the compensation, he would face another six months in jail. All the punishments would commence concurrently, the court held.