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On bail: Court releases hunter accused of killing markhor sans permit

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: A sessions court in Gilgit granted bail to a man accused of killing a markhor as certain legal formalities in the prosecution had not been fulfilled. The next hearing is set for Tuesday (today).

Hasim Ali was fined and sent to prison a few days ago by Assistant Commissioner Rana Waqas, who is also a sub-divisional magistrate. The wildlife department registered a case against the accused for killing a markhor without the requisite permit.

“The accused recorded a statement, confessing he killed the markhor,” Waqas told The Express Tribune. “The court has powers to review the decision.”

The court set aside the decision as due process had not been fulfilled and ordered the release of the suspect on bail after the magistrate’s decision was challenged by Ali’s lawyer, Shakeel Ahmed.

“The sentence was awarded in a hurry without completing the due process of justice,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune on Sunday.He said the evidence produced before the magistrate was not enough to prove that his client was guilty.

“The way my client’s house was raided and searched and the manner in which the case has been pursued is illegal,” said Ahmed. “There was no policewoman in the team and law-enforcers did not have a search warrant from a court of law.” Under the law, he said, the presence of a magistrate or a search warrant obtained from him was not sufficient to allow the police to conduct a search operation. He added it was necessary to obtain the warrant from a court.

Permits for four markhors, 60 ibexes and eight blue sheep were auctioned for the hunting season ending in March-April. The licence fees for markhors, Himalayan blue sheep and ibexes were set at $67,500, $8,800 and $3,000, respectively.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2016.

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