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Magistrate asked to testify about ‘confessional’ statement of Uzair Baloch

Magistrate asked to testify about ‘confessional’ statement of Uzair Baloch

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court summoned on Wednesday a judicial magistrate to record his testimony about a ‘confession’ of alleged Lyari kingpin Uzair Baloch about kidnapping and murder of two Rangers personnel.

Baloch, the chief of the defunct Peoples Amn Committee, faces dozens of case of murder, kidnapping, extortion and terrorism pending before the sessions’ and antiterrorism courts in Karachi.

Since January 2021, he has been acquitted in around 21 cases.

On Wednesday, the ATC-XVI judge was set to record the testimony of judicial magistrate Syed Imran Imam Zaidi, who had purportedly recorded confessional statement of Uzair in the present case in 2016.

However, the judicial magistrate made a request for recording his statement online.

The judge turned down the request after the counsel for the accused objected.

Uzair’s defence counsel, Abid Zaman, argued that the video-link request was not maintainable because the JM was present in the city.

Sher Mohammad Shaikh’s defence counsel, Mohammad Jiwani, questioned as to what was preventing the judicial officer from appearing before the court.

Therefore, the judge sent a letter to the Member Inspection Team branch of the Sindh High Court requesting to ensure presence of the JM in court on Aug 10.

Since November 2020, the court has been repeatedly issuing notices to JM Zaidi, who had recorded confession of Baloch under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code, to appear before the court for recording his testimony.

According to the prosecution, the JM in 2016 had recorded the confessional statement of Baloch in which he revealed the modus operandi of his extortion rackets under the patronage of the Pakistan Peoples Party leadership and senior police officers.

The statement said that two Rangers personnel Muneer Ahmed Bhutto and Aijaz Ahmed Baloch, who were on intelligence duty, were kidnapped in Lyari by Sheikh and later killed on the orders of Baloch in March 2013.

Both the accused pleaded innocence while Baloch claimed that he never made any confession.

ASWJ leader’s name in Fourth Schedule

An antiterrorism court on Wednesday summoned a section officer of the Sindh home department to record his statement about the status of Aurangzeb Farooqi, chief of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), on the Fourth Schedule.

Police had booked Farooqi earlier this year for allegedly violating the restrictions imposed on his movement without seeking prior approval from the authorities.

An FIR was registered under Section IIEE (4) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the Shah Latif police station on behalf of the state.

On Wednesday, when the matter came up before the ATC-XII judge, the investigating officer submitted an A-class report stating that they could not find any evidence against him.

After examining the report, the judge directed the section officer (judicial) of the home department to appear in court and testify as to whether the name of Farooqi was still on the list or had it been removed.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2021

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