by Muhammad Nadeem
SRINAGAR: In a legal development on Saturday, the fast court in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district found Mushtaq Ahmed Pandith guilty of murdering his wife Sameera Jan after a 12-year legal battle.
The Additional Sessions Judge, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, in a 90-page decree, said, “Even though opportunity was provided to the accused, who has taken the defence of not being present on the spot on the day of occurrence, has not been able to provide any circumstance to show that the accused was not present on the spot on the fateful day.”
The court, in its judgment delivered on November 18, 2023, convicted Pandith under Section 302 of RPC for the premeditated murder of Sameera Jan. The court order revealed details, stating, “On 1st May 2011, Sameera Jan was murdered by her husband Mushtaq Ahmed Pandith alias Bilal with a knife at his home in Kralpora.”
The accused, as per the order, took the deceased Sameera Jan and prime witness Iqra Khursheed to his house where a knife was already kept in the drawer of his bed to kill PW-22 (Raja @ Mukhtar Hafiz).”
The court highlighted key facets of the case, affirming that Pandith had meticulously planned the murder. It noted, “Keeping of knives in the drawer of the bed makes it clear that the accused was predetermined in committing the offence.”
“It was not in a spur of moment accused took the step. The presence of the knife and going to the house when all family members were attending the marriage function makes it clear that the accused had the intention to preplan and commit the act of murder,” the order said.
Expanding on the sequence of events, the court observed, “Accused along with deceased Sameera Jan and PW-1 Iqra Khursheed went to his house in the evening when deceased had come to attend the marriage ceremony of one of the cousins of the accused.”
The judgment exposed further details, revealing, “Accused had already kept a knife in the drawer of the bed with a clear intention to kill Raja PW-22 @ Mukhtar Hafiz, who in the opinion of accused was having an illicit relation with the deceased Sameera Jan.”
Quoting again from the order, “On being confronted about the phone no and address of Raja found in the diary of the deceased, a heated quarrel started between Pandith and Sameera, with the result that Pandith took out the knife from the drawer and attacked Sameera, also grievously injuring himself in the right hand in the process.”
The court concluded, acknowledging the prosecution’s evidence and emphasising the accused’s guilt. Mushtaq Ahmed Pandith, now convicted under Section 302 RPC, awaits sentencing on 23rd November, marking a significant chapter in the prolonged pursuit of justice for Sameera Jan.