Tariq Mehmood v. The State (2011 SCMR 1880)

A sentence may be reduced due to consideration of the fasad-fil-arz principle and a compromise agreement with legal heirs of deceased

The accused was convicted under Section 302(b) of the PPC and sentenced to death and a fine for the murder of two people. The Lahore High Court confirmed the conviction and sentence.

The accused had been staying with a co-accused for a few months, engaging in ‘immoral activities’. The village therefore asked the co-accused to evict the accused. One of the deceased forbade the accused from visiting their neighborhood, threatening dire consequences. On the day of the incident, the two deceased and their brother, the complainant, were walking, at which point the accused emerged and shot one of the deceased. Subsequently, the accused entered the village, still firing his pistol and being chased by the complainant and the other deceased, during which he shot the other deceased. The accused continued to fire and injure other villagers who chased him and returned fire.

During his appeal, the accused filed an application for compromise of the offence as he had entered into a compromise with the legal heirs of the deceased persons, under Section 345(5) of the CrPC.

Based on these facts, the Court found that the murder of the first deceased was intentional and premeditated. Regarding the second death, the accused was running for his life as he knew that if apprehended, he would not be spared. It concluded that the second death may have been accidental and the requisite mens rea could not be established.

The Court also applied the principle of ‘fasad-fil-arz’, which it defined to include “the past conduct of the offender, any previous convictions, the brutal and shocking manner in which the offence has been committed which outrageous to the public conscience, where the offence relates to honour crimes or if the offender is considered a potential danger to the community”.1 Under this principle, the Court concluded that this second incident could not be held to be “brutal or gruesome or shocking” nor was there evidence of any criminal record and therefore were not persuaded to maintain the death sentence, in particular as the accused had compromised the matter.

The Court maintained the conviction; however, it commuted his sentence to life imprisonment, maintaining the fine.