RAWALPINDI, Sept 18: An anti-terrorism court acquitted on Wednesday Rana Mohammad Faqir of the charge of attacking a convoy of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2003.
And despite the acquittal, Faqir refused to leave the jail fearing that he would be abducted by security agencies, but he was persuaded by his family to come home.
“We had requested the ATC judge to provide security to my father from Adiyala jail to our residence in Ghauri town, Islamabad, but he advised us to approach the city police officer,” Faqir’s son Rana Mohammad Waseem told Dawn.
Since the CPO was not in his office, he said, he went to the Pothohar SP who turned down his request for security. He alleged that Jamshed Raza alias Chach, another accused in the 2001 Musharraf attack case, had been picked up by the Military Intelligence after his release on bail and later implicated in a ‘fake’ bank robbery case.
It may be mentioned that Raza was kept at a Lakki Marwat internment centre under the Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulations 2011 for Fata after his acquittal in the robbery case.
The prosecution quoted investigators as saying that Faqir had parked his explosives-laden vehicle outside the Jinnah Park in Rawalpindi but it failed to start when the convoy of Gen Musharraf was passing through the area.
An FIR of the attack was registered by police in Dec 2003 and Faqir was arrested in 2007.
In addition to the trial of civilians — Rana Mohammad Faqir, his daughter-in-law Shazia Mubashir and Jamshed Raza — in the ATC, a separate trial of 12 accused, mostly serving soldiers, was conducted by the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) which convicted all the accused in 2004.
They included Rana Mohammad Naveed, son of Rana Faqir; Adnan Rashid, a former PAF junior technician and mastermind of the Dera Ismail Khan jailbreak; PAF chief technician Nawazish Ali, chief technician Khalid Mehmood, Naik Arshad, Niaz Mehmood, Zubair Ahmed, Rashid Qureshi and Ikhlas Ahmed and civilians Mushtaq Ahmed, Ghulam Sarwar Bhatti and Amir Sohail.
On July 21, 2005, a military court of appeal not only upheld the FGCM decision but increased the punishment of Rana Naveed and Amir Sohail from 20-year jail term to death sentence.
But in March this year, the Supreme Court set aside the death sentence of Naveed and Sohail after their counsel said they had never filed an appeal against the sentence. The appeal was filed by the military authorities on their own on behalf of the convicts, he added.
Advocate Inamur Rahim, the counsel for Faqir, told Dawn that his client’s acquittal would support the defence stance in the case of attack on Gen Musharraf’s convoy. He said it proved mala fide intention of the prosecution and the military authorities who had implicated Rana Faqir, his son Naveed and 11 other members of his family in fake cases.
Initially, Advocate Rahim said, that Faqir, his wife, sons, daughter-in-law and six-month-old grandson Saifullah had been detained in Attock Fort. They were handed over to the Civil Lines police in 2007 after the Supreme Court gave the MI a final deadline to produce all missing persons.
Shazia Mubashir was produced before the ATC on Aug 27, 2007. She was later released by the court but was again picked up and sent to Bahawalpur jail in connection with the same bank robbery case in which Jamshed Raza was implicated in 2011. Shazia also was acquitted in the robbery case.
ATC Judge Rehman had on Saturday reserved judgment in the Rana Faqir case.
His counsel Advocate Rahim said the prosecution had neither recorded the statement of Gen Musharraf nor produced the military secretary, ADC or any other official who were accompanying the former military ruler at the time of the attack in December 2003.
Chaudhry Mohammad Afzal, public prosecutor, had opposed the acquittal and said the prosecution had brought evidences on the court record. He said the prosecution had to produce over 100 witnesses against the accused for establishing the allegations levelled against him.
The judge said in his order on Wednesday that the evidences produced by the prosecution were not sufficient to link the accused to the crime.