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Police told to ensure early arrest of 1,609 absconders

Police told to ensure early arrest of 1,609 absconders

KARACHI: Justice Amir Hani Muslim of the Supreme Court, who is also the monitoring judge of the Anti-Terrorism Courts (ATCs) in Sindh, on Saturday expressed grave displeasure over the failure of police to arrest over 1,600 absconding accused in as many as 456 cases pending disposal at different ATCs in the city.

The SC judge, who was presiding over a meeting to review performance of the ATCs in the province, directed the Karachi police chief to ensure the early arrest of 1,609 absconders, official sources told Dawn.

They said that Justice Muslim became visibly irked when he went through the report of the prosecutor general that said 1,609 accused persons involved in heinous and terrorism cases were still absconders.

Prosecutor General Shahadat Awan also informed the meeting that about 3,800 cases were pending disposal in 19 ATCs across the province. Of them, he said, about 3,000 cases were being tried in 10 ATCs in Karachi.

The presiding judge directed the authorities concerned to immediately increase at least 30 more ATCs in the province.

The meeting, however, expressed satisfaction over the disposal rate of the cases. The participants were informed that the ATCs in Karachi disposed of 115 cases during January and February. They were told that 35 cases ended in conviction of the accused persons, while accused persons in 80 cases were acquitted.

Later, Justice Muslim also visited the Karachi central prison to inspect construction work of the complex being built to house 10 ATCs. He was informed that the construction work would complete in June.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor general told Dawn that 10 more ATCs would start functioning in the first week of April. “These ATCs might be housed temporarily in a building to be provided by the army,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2016

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