RAWALPINDI, Sept 10: An anti-terrorism court acquitted on Monday the chief cleric of Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Aziz, and 19 others in a case relating to the murder of a Rangers official.

ATC Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman acquitted the chief cleric, his wife Majida Aziz alias Umme Hassan, his sister-in-law Humaira Rasheed Ghazi, daughter Tayyaba Dua, Maulana Abdul Qayyum, Mohammad Afzal, Nazakat Ali, Fidaullah, Mufti Sadiq, Inayatur Rehman, Riaz Ahmed, Mohammad Hayat, Safiullah, Noor Mohammad, Mohammad Asif, Abdul Latif, Ansar Shah, Safdarullah, Mohammad Usman and Maqsood Akbar, giving them the benefit of the doubt.

The court declared four other accused — Mujeebur Rehman, Mohammad Abubakar, Mohammad Imran and Mohammad Saeed — as proclaimed offenders and issued warrants for their arrest.

The FIR about the murder of Rangers official Mubarik Hussain was registered with Aabpara police station on July 3, 2007. Maulana Aziz, who was arrested the following day, remained in police custody till April 15, 2009, when the Supreme Court granted him bail.

Maulana Aziz and the other accused were indicted on April 20, 2011, for inciting the public against police and possessing illegal weapons.

Police produced 18 prosecution witnesses, including two deputy superintendents of police and two magistrates.

Defence counsel Qari Wajihullah told newsmen that the court verdict proved that police had made a false case against his clients.

He said police had registered the case of killing one official of Rangers and eight students of Lal Masjid, but prosecution witness Dr Farrukh Kamal stated in his statement that he had conducted post-mortem on bodies of 90 students. Dr Kamal’s statement also contradicted the prosecution’s stand that only nine people died in the Lal Masjid operation.

Maulana Aziz said that Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf was against his preaching of Islam and implicated him in false cases.

Maulana Aziz has been nominated in 27 cases since 2004 and the case of Rangers official’s murder is the 18th in which he has been acquitted.

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