A man who was jailed at the age of 10 for possessing drugs was released on Friday after 11 years.
Three judges of the Supreme Court, Justice Qazi Hussain, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the petition for the man’s acquittal.
During the hearing, lawyer Malika Saba and Advocate Khwaja Muhammad Saeed informed the court that the man, Muhammad Adnan, had been charged with the possession of 160kg of drugs.
The lawyers argued that he was not named in the statement given by the investigation officer. In fact, the investigation officer had said that the drugs belonged to another man, Riaz, who was also named in the case, said the lawyer.
“The sample of the narcotics was not transferred as per the standard operating procedure and there was an error in the forensic laboratory’s report as well,” Saba told the court.
Punjab Deputy Prosecutor Abdul Wahid informed the court that the challan was produced two years after the case was registered.
Justice Shah said that in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling, if it cannot be proved that someone was in possession of the drugs, the defendant will be acquitted.
Later, the court overruled the lower court’s sentence and ordered that Adnan be released immediately.
Adnan was not at the hearing because he contracted tuberculosis in jail, his lawyer told the media outside the court. He is taken to a hospital in Faisalabad every week for his treatment by the jail authorities.
She said that the trial court had sentenced the child to life in prison at the age of 13 and imposed a fine of Rs1 million on him. On March 24, 2014 the Lahore High Court had rejected Adnan’s acquittal plea.
He was arrested from Ferozwala in Sheikhupura on August 8, 2007. He was accused of trafficking 160kg of charas and 180g of heroin in a rickshaw. Adnan spent 11 years in jail.