SC remands Atiqa Odho alcohol possession case to trial court


ISLAMABAD, Jan 08 (TNS): The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday remanded a case regarding possession of alcohol against television actress Atiqa Odho to a trial court.

In 2011, Odho was detained by the Airport Security Force at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport for allegedly carrying two liquor bottles in her luggage. She was released shortly after the intervention of some ‘influential figures’ in the matter.

Then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of her release and ordered the concerned authorities to lodge a first information report of the incident.In September 2017, Odho appealed to the SC to intervene in the case as all trial courts had rejected her application for acquittal on the grounds that the trial is not over and the matter would be decided after closing of the evidence of the accused in the defence.

Her counsel Barrister Syed Ali Zafar had said that no trial court was willing to deal with her case on merit because of the fear that it was registered at the behest of the apex court.

Barrister Zafar had argued that the case was false and frivolous and after the prosecution concluded its evidence, including the recording of eight witness statements, it appeared that there was no case made out against her.Therefore, he had said, Odho is entitled to acquittal under the provisions of Section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code, adding that the trial court should have disposed of her application on merit, instead of postponing the decision on technical grounds.

The counsel requested the apex court to remand the case to the trial court for a decision on it in accordance with the law, and the SC subsequently issued notices to the state and directed the trial court not to pass any order till a decision on the case.

In today’s hearing, Odho’s counsel argued that the actor was booked under Article 4 of the Prohibition (enforcement of Hadd) Order, 1979, on former CJP Chaudhry’s orders. Article 4 pertains to the punishment for owning or possessing an intoxicant.Barrister Zafar insisted that the Hudood Ordinance does not apply to the case as an airport lounge is not a public point and lamented that the trial court did not take his client’s objections into account.

The SC bench subsequently ordered the trial court to reconsider its decision and take all legal aspects of the case into account.