Sardar Muhammad v. Athar Zahoor (2017 SCMR 1668)

When the accused fires only a single shot in a sudden occurrence crime, life imprisonment is an appropriate sentence.

The accused was sentenced to death under PPC 302(b) for the murder of the complainant’s son.

The Lahore High Court commuted the sentence to life imprisonment and the complainant appealed to the Supreme Court for enhancement of sentence. The Supreme Court found sufficient evidence to support the conviction—ocular testimony was provided by the brother of complainant and a weapon recovered from the accused matched the empties recovered at the occurrence. However medical reports corroborated that the cause of death was a single gunshot fired by the accused. Because the accused fired only one mortal gunshot and the occurrence was a sudden affair, the Supreme Court refused to enhance the sentence and upheld the sentence of life imprisonment.