KARACHI, Feb 4: In what appears to be a first of its kind incident, an undertrial prisoner facing trial in a kidnapping for ransom case managed to escape from the heavily guarded anti-terrorism courts complex on Monday.
Three courts are working in the ATC complex in the old KMC rest house located on M.T. Khan Road near the so-called high-security zone. The building is in dilapidated condition and despite orders of the superior judiciary to shift the courts to a better place the provincial government has not taken any action.
Officials said that Rajab Ali alias Nadeem was brought to the ATC complex from jail along with his accomplice Sain Dad in connection with the hearing of 2011 kidnapping for ransom and illicit weapon cases against him.
The cases were fixed before the ATC-III and the UTP was produced in court on Monday.
However, the hearing of the cases was adjourned till Feb 22 since a judicial magistrate, one of the prosecution witnesses, did not appear in court to testify against them.
After the hearing, Rajab and Sain Dad along with other UTPs were brought back to a makeshift lock-up near the boundary wall of the ATC complex for their departure to prison.
The officials said that Rajab somehow managed to unlock his handcuffs, scale the wall adjacent to the KPT warehouse and escape.
Sources said that normally around five policemen were posted around the lock-up to keep a watchful eye on the UTPs, but no policeman was seen around the lock-up at the time of escape.
A security official at the ATC complex said that between 70 and 80 UTPs were brought to the ATCs on a daily basis. However, only 15 UTPs were transported to the ATCs on Monday since the legal work was partially suspended due to the death of a senior lawyer, he added.
Rajab has been charged with kidnapping a man and demanding Rs20 million as a ransom.According to the prosecution, the accused abducted the victim on Oct 21, 2011 near Karachi Airport for ransom. Later, the amount was settled at Rs500,000 and the captive was released on Oct 31 after the payment of ransom. On Nov 4, 2011 acting on a tip-off the anti-violent crime cell raided a house in Malir Halt, arrested the accused and found unlicensed weapons in their custody.
A case (FIR 265/11) was registered under Sections 365-A (kidnapping to extort property etc) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 on a complaint of the victim’s wife at the Airport police station. The accused persons were also separately booked under Section 13-D of the Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965.
Meanwhile, two constables of the court police — Moinullah and Zahid Hussain — were arrested and a case (FIR 23/2012) was registered against them and the accused who escaped at the Mithadar police on behalf of the state station under Sections 223 (escape from confinement or custody negligently suffered by public servant), 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) and 225 (resistance or obstruction to lawful apprehension of another person) of the Pakistan Penal Code.