Pakistan News

ATC acquits man in Peshawar shrine attack case

PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court has acquitted an alleged militant commander charged with leading an attack on a shrine on the outskirts of Peshawar over a decade ago, which left 15 people dead.

Following the conclusion of trial, the court ruled that the prosecution couldn’t prove charge against the accused, Gulbat Malakdinkhel, while the evidence on record didn’t connect him with the commission of the offence.

It issued perpetual warrants for the arrest of absconding accused in the case, including chief of the banned Lashkar-i-Islam, Mangal Bagh and his associate, Tayyab Afridi.

Scores of militants had attacked a shrine situated at Village Sheikhan on Mar 3, 2008, with heavy weapons including rocket launchers, hand grenades and semi machine guns.

Issues perpetual warrants for arrest of absconders

They had demolished the shrine and had killed around 15 persons and injured 10 others.

FIR of the occurrence was registered at the Badabher police station under sections 302, 324, 427 and 436 of the Pakistan Penal Code, Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and sections 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substance Act.

Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, lawyer for the accused, said the police had arrested his client in Jan this year alleging that he was second-in-command to Mangal Bagh.

He said the investigation team reached the place of attack a day later though it was located inside Peshawar.

The lawyer said the prosecution didn’t produce anything to prove that his client was the same Gulbat Malikdinkhel, who was charged in the FIR.

He said the police didn’t mention the parentage of accused Gulbat in FIR and investigation.

The lawyer said Gulbat was a common name in Bara area of Khyber tribal district and that it couldn’t be said without tracing the parentage of the accused that he was the same Gulbat.

He also said complainant in the case, Irshad, whose brother was killed in the attack, and an injured person, who appeared as a prosecution witness, had declared that they neither knew his client nor did they see him at the place of attack.

The counsel said though heavy weapons were used in the attack, the investigation team didn’t find any empties from the shrine.

He said the case was poorly investigated and a person couldn’t be convicted merely on basis of allegations.

The state prosecutor said the accused was charged in the FIR and remained absconder for around a decade.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2020

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