The trial in the murder case of Noor Mukaddam, daughter of former ambassador to Islamabad, is in final stages. After the completion of the lawyers’ cross-examination, in the next phase, the statement of the accused under section 342 of the Criminal Code will be recorded, for which a questionnaire will be provided to all the accused named in the case.
According to Shah Khawar, counsel for plaintiff Shaukat Mukaddam, “the court has ordered that a questionnaire be provided to all the accused before the next hearing, the answers to which will be taken at the next hearing.”
What is asked in the questionnaire given to the accused?
Under Section 342 of the Criminal Code, the statements of the accused are recorded during the trial. For which the concerned judges provide questionnaires to all the accused named in the case.
The questionnaire prepared by the judge mentions all the evidence against the accused and the accused is asked to answer about this evidence or witness.
The questionnaire asks questions in the light of all the witnesses, evidence and reports provided by the prosecution.
Defendants are asked that witness number one said about you that you were doing this in a certain place on a certain day, what do you say about that?
Similarly, questions are asked about the items or murder device recovered from the scene. What do you say about the fact that a pistol was recovered from you or clothes were found or something like that was found?
In this questionnaire, the accused is questioned and details are sought regarding the documentary evidence provided by the prosecution, witnesses or all the things that have been presented in the court against the accused in the case.
At the end of the questionnaire, the accused is asked in the light of all these evidences what do you want to say in your defense or why this case was made against you?
Legal experts consider 342’s statement to be extremely important. In this statement, the accused are given an opportunity to respond in their favor, to give evidence to the accused in his defense with reference to all the evidence or to state the reasons for the case.
In addition, the evidence or proofs not mentioned in the questionnaire cannot be used against the accused and the evidence mentioned in the questionnaire, the case is decided on the same witnesses or evidence.
Generally, in murder cases where the accused claim to be self-defense or mentally unfit, they are also given an opportunity to prove their claim.
After recording the statement of the accused 342, if the accused brings evidence in his favor, then the evidence provided by the accused is cross-examined and if the accused does not present evidence or testimony in his favor, then the prosecution and defense lawyers would give final arguments. Are