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35 cases against Safoora Goth bus attack suspects may be sent to military courts

35 cases against Safoora Goth bus attack suspects may be sent to military courts

KARACHI: The Sindh police plan to send 35 cases of terrorist activities allegedly carried out by Safoora Goth bus attack suspects, believed to be local operatives of self-styled Islamic State, to military courts, official sources say.

Apart from the crimes committed by bus attack suspects, two more high-profile cases of Shikarpur Imambargah attack and murder of Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUI-F) leader Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro had been lately re-examined by the authorities to be forwarded to the military courts, said sources.

But unlike the case of JUI-F leader, police authorities did not sound convinced to forward the murder case of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Zahra Shahid Hussain as well for trial by military courts, said the sources.

“We have identified 35 incidents of terrorism and other crimes, which were carried out by the bus attack suspects,” said a senior official privy to recently held series of meetings on re-examination of all terrorism-related cases before sending them to the home department that would then forward them to military courts.

“The most brutal one was obviously terrorist attack on Ismaili community bus which claimed dozens of lives. Then comes killing of social activist Sabeen Mahmud, attacks on Rangers personnel and policemen in Karachi and Hyderabad, grenade attack on a Karachi school, attacks on Bohri community people, attack on American educationist Debra Lobo and the list goes on,” he said.

The Sindh police decided to ‘re-examine’ all terrorism-related cases on the basis of severity of the crime before recommending them to the home department in the wake of Supreme Court decision in favour of military courts.

The decision was taken after detailed discussion at a recent meeting chaired by Sindh IG police Ghulam Haider Jamali at the central police office, said the sources.

“Police decided to try the suspects in Khalid Mahmood Soomro murder case in military courts as the slain leader was a main figure in a leading political party. His murder in November 2014 was marked as high-profile,” said the official.

“The January 2015 bombing of Shikarpur Imambargah has also been added to the list. It’s the worst case of sectarian terrorism in Sindh in recent history. So it was also marked as a case fit for military courts.”

He said the Zahra Shahid murder case was also discussed at the meeting but the officials were not convinced over recommending it.

The vice president of PTI’s Sindh chapter, Zahra Shahid, was gunned down on the eve of re-polling on 43 polling stations in NA-250 constituency in Karachi in May 2013. “There are a number of cases of politically motivated murders which cannot be moved to military courts,” said the official.

Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2015

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