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ATC acquits Uzair Baloch in another case for want of evidence

ATC acquits Uzair Baloch in another case for want of evidence

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Wednesday acquitted outlawed Peoples Amn Committee chief Uzair Baloch in a decade-old case pertaining to a grenade attack in Lyari due to lack of evidence.

Uzair Baloch along with Taj Muhammad alias Tajju, Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla and Zafar Baloch alias Langra was charged with injuring three fruit vendors — Imran Khan, Muhammad Afzal and Ghairat Khan — in the grenade attack in Lea Market in May 2012.

On Wednesday, the ATC-VII judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments on Jan 23.

The judge noted that the prosecution had failed to prove the charge against Uzair Baloch.

The prosecution said that accused Baba Ladla and Zafar Baloch had already been killed.

The judge directed prison authorities to release Baloch forthwith, if his custody was not required in any other case. The prosecution said vendors Imran and two others were asleep at their roadside stalls on the night of May 2, 2012 when some unknown accused hurled a grenade. The attack had all the three injured.

Defence counsel Abid Zaman argued that it was a blind case, as there was no witness to identify those who hurled the grenade.

He submitted that the complainant had also lodged the case against unknown persons, but the prosecution had framed his client and failed to prove it through evidence.

On the other hand, the state prosecutor had claimed that Uzair Baloch and co-accused were involved in the grenade attack that had left the complainant and two others injured and also caused a sense of fear and terror in the area.

A case was registered under Sections 324 (attempted murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Sections 3 and 4 of the Explosives Act, 1908 and Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the Kharadar police station.

Uzair Baloch was facing trial in nearly 60 cases pertaining to murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, extortion and encounters with law enforcers.

So far, he has been acquitted in around 26 cases.

In April 2020, a military court had sentenced him to 12 years in prison in an espionage case.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2023

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