Pakistan News

ATC grants bail to Aamir Khan due to ‘faulty investigation’

ATC grants bail to Aamir Khan due to ‘faulty investigation’

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Monday granted bail to Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Aamir Khan in a case pertaining to instigating terrorism and harbouring criminals.

The bail was granted in the sum of Rs1 million and the court ruled that Mr Khan would not leave the country till the disposal of the case against him.

Clad in white shalwar-qameez, the senior party leader stood calm in the courtroom when the judge of the ATC-II told him that his bail was approved due to faulty investigation into the allegations against him.

The ATC-II had on June 26 reserved its order on the bail application of the MQM leader, who was taken into custody on March 11 during a pre-dawn raid carried out by Rangers on and around the party’s Nine Zero headquarters in Azizabad on March 11.

The Rangers had claimed that they had apprehended nearly half-a-dozen targeted killers during the raid — including Faisal Mehmood aka Mota who had been sentenced to death in absentia for his involvement in the murder of television journalist Wali Khan Babar.

On June 4, the Rangers handed Aamir Khan over to the police after registering a case against him for allegedly providing shelter to 26 wanted suspects arrested by Rangers during the March 11 raid and using them for terrorist activities.

Mr Khan’s counsel, Advocate Shaukat Hayat, moved the bail plea in court and argued that the allegations against his client were baseless since there was no independent witness in the case and all the prosecution witnesses placed in the charge sheet were Rangers and police officials.

He submitted that the prosecution remained unable to bring out any incriminating evidence against the applicant despite detaining him for around three months, adding that the arrested suspects had also not deposed against him for sheltering them.

Advocate Hayat contended that hundreds of people worked at the MQM’s headquarters and thousands others visited it daily and it was difficult to identify criminals among them.

However, the special public prosecutor of Rangers opposed the bail application and claimed that the applicant’s custody was necessary as investigation had not yet been completed.

Mr Khan, who was brought to the court in an armoured personnel carrier (APC) from the Karachi central prison amid extraordinary security arrangements, later told reporters outside the court that the workers of the MQM were true patriots and they would continue to fight for Pakistan.

“Conspiracies have been hatched against the MQM ever since it was created,” he said, declaring, “But the workers are united under the leadership of Altaf Hussain.”

Remand of Safoora carnage suspects extended

The same ATC extended the police remand of four Safoora bus carnage suspects for 14 days in nine cases pertaining to an encounter, possessing illicit weapons and explosive material.

The suspected militants — Tahir Hussain Minhas alias Sain alias Nazir alias Zahid alias Naveed alias Khalil alias Shaukat alias Mota, Saad Aziz alias Tin Tin alias John, Hafiz Nasir alias Yasir and Mohammad Azhar Ishrat alias Majid — were brought in an APC to the court and produced before the judge amid tight security.

The counter-terrorism department (CTD) of the police sought an extension in the remand of the suspects, who were arrested on May 20 near Habib Society in Gulshan-i-Maymar after a shootout and two Kalashnikovs, four grenades, two 9mm pistols, bullets and a car were found in their custody.

The court extended the remand of the suspects for 14 days.

The suspects are also allegedly involved in the May 13 Safoora bus carnage in which 47 people, including women, belonging to the Shia Ismaili community were shot dead.

The main case was registered against the suspects under Sections 324 (attempted murder), 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 4/5 of Explosive Substances Act, 1908 read with Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the CTD police station, Civil Lines.

The CTD also individually booked them in two connected cases each under Section 23(1) (a) of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 and Section 4/5 of the Explosive Substances Act.

Besides Umar alias Wajid, Ali Rehman alias Toona, codename Abdullah alias Mansoori and codename Tayyab were shown as absconders in the police encounter and attempted murder cases.

The suspects were also allegedly involved in the murder of human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud in Defence, firing on American educationist Debra Lobo in the Ferozabad area and bomb attacks on naval and Rangers officials.

But the police have yet to obtain their remand in these cases.

Rangers detain ‘hit man’ for 90 days

The ATC-II was also informed by the Rangers about the three-month preventive detention of Muhammad Zubair Gaddi alias Kankata.

The court was told that the suspect had allegedly confessed to have killed at least 11 persons and he was also involved in extortion.

The Rangers prosecutor requested the court to give the suspect in the custody of the paramilitary troops for 90 days for investigation and interrogation under the Protection of Pakistan Act.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2015

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