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KARACHI, Aug 26: An anti-terrorism court acquitted on Monday two men, including a former military officer, of all charges in a case of kidnapping for ransom of a film-maker.

Retired Major Haroon Ashique and Nawaz Khan with their accomplices were charged with abducting the film-maker Satish Anand in October 2008 from the Defence Housing Authority and demanding a huge ransom for his safe release.

The ATC-I Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso who conducted the trial inside the central prison pronounced the judgement after recording evidence of witnesses and hearing arguments from both sides.

A court official said the prosecution’s case was mainly based on the evidence provided by the film-maker and his driver who were eyewitnesses of the incident but the captive failed to identify the accused as his kidnappers before a trial court. Besides, he did not turn up in court to present evidence since he was said to have left Pakistan, he said.

Moreover, during the first trial of two co-accused the captive and his driver had neither deposed against nor identified them before the court, which finally led to the acquittal of Mohammad Basit Abu Bakar and Salmanuz Zaman Siddiqui around a couple of years ago, he added.According to the prosecution, Satish Anand was kidnapped on Oct 20, 2008 in Defence Housing Authority when he was on his way home in his vehicle being driven by his driver.

The kidnappers had demanded a huge ransom for his safe release. Eventually, the captive was recovered in Bannu after remaining in captivity for around six months, said the prosecution.

A case (FIR No.292/08) was registered at the Frere police station under Sections 365-A (kidnapping for ransom) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act. Ilyas Kashmiri, Irfan and Mulvi Nazir are absconding accused in the case.

Safari Park encounter

The ATC-I extended on Monday physical remand of nine suspects in the Safari Park encounter and illicit weapons cases who were reproduced in court after the end of their first remand.

The court allowed five-day extension in physical remand of suspects Abdul Ghaffar, Mohabat Ali, Abdul Malik, Ahmed, Imtiaz, Ranjhan, Imran, Samiullah and Allah Wadayo and directed police to produce them on the next date of hearing with a progress report.

According to the prosecution, DSP Qasim Ghauri and ASI Asif were killed and five other police officers sustained injuries during a five-hour-long encounter with the suspects in and around Safari Park on Aug 15.

Police arrested the suspects and found illicit weapons in their possession while their accomplices identified as Zaman Shah, Amir Bux Chachar and Umaid Ali were killed during the shootout, it added.

A case (FIR No.544/13) was registered against the suspects at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station under Sections 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 302 (punishment for premeditated murder), 324 (attempt to commit murder), 353 (criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-terrorism Act.

The suspects were also booked under Section 23-A of the Sindh Arms Ordinance for carrying unlicensed weapons at the time of their arrest.