Mst. Sabeeha v. Ibrar & Others (2012 SCMR 74)

The death penalty should not be awarded where a specific role and a fatal injury cannot be attributed to an accused person during an incident of indiscriminate firing by multiple persons.

Ibrar and Zavaiz Khan were convicted under Section 302(b) of the PPC and sentenced to death by the trial court for the murder of four people. On appeal, the Lahore High Court commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment. However, two other co-accused were acquitted and three others had absconded.

The conflict had arisen out of a housing dispute. Six of the accused persons gathered and attacked the four deceased by indiscriminately firing at them with firearms, as a result of which the deceased received fatal injuries.

In agreement with the High Court, the Supreme Court noted “when an unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapons is resorting to indiscriminate firing, it is not possible to identify as to whose fire hit whom and in such circumstances the award of maximum sentence of death would not be in consonance with safe administration of justice.1

Consequently, the appeal to enhance the sentence to a death sentence was dismissed.