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722 suspects rejoined terrorist groups after acquittal: report

Updated Oct 19, 2013 09:33am


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— File photo
— File photo

ISLAMABAD: From 2007 till now the courts have released 1,964 alleged terrorists, says an official government document.

More serious still is the fact that of those released, 722 have rejoined terrorist groups while 1,197 are still actively involved in anti-state activities, according to the official document available with Dawn.

In other words, the document reveals that nearly 60 per cent of those acquitted of terrorist activities are still involved in anti-state activities. Though the wording of the document is vague it appears to suggest that those being monitored are still involved in militant activities.

According to the information, after their acquittal 12 of the suspected terrorists have been killed - four of them in drone attacks in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and eight during the operations conducted by security forces.

On the other hand, 33 of those acquitted have been re-apprehended and are currently confined to jails and internment centres under the ‘Action in Aid in Civil Power Regulations 2011.’

The provincial breakdown presents even more interesting details. The highest number of those released is from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata (1,308) followed by Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir with 517, Punjab (83), Sindh (47) and Balochistan (9).

This also shows that the state is keeping track of those who have been suspected of terrorist activities and released by the courts.

Defence analyst Air-Vice Marshall (retired) Shahzad Chaudhry said intelligence agencies do keep check on the suspects who managed release in high-profile cases of terrorism.

They monitor their activities to make sure that after acquittal the suspects would not be involved in terrorist activities again.

Sometimes when the released suspect gets involved in an anti-state activity the agencies try to apprehend and detain him in an internment centre, he said. Since there is no legal cover for the detention after acquittal, certain quarters sometimes termed the detained suspect a missing person.

Interestingly, all nine of those acquitted by the courts in Balochistan have re-joined terrorist groups though in absolute numbers the other provinces outstrip Balochistan – in KP-Fata 555 (of the 1,308 acquitted) while in Islamabad-GB-AJK 97 (of 517) have rejoined terrorist groups.

In Sindh 22 out of the 47 released have re-joined terrorist groups while in Punjab the number is 39 out of 83 acquitted.

This also means that in terms of percentage, Balochistan is followed by Sindh where nearly 45 per cent of those released have rejoined terrorist groups (the figure for Balochistan is 100 per cent).

However, if the category of activities being confirmed is considered, Islamabad-GB-AJK leads with over 70 per cent of those released now still being suspected of ‘activities’ followed by KP-Fata.

However, the numbers are higher for those who are described as having their “activities confirmed” – 736 for KP-Fata; 403 for Islamabad-GB-AJK; 34 for Punjab and 24 for Sindh.

These figures show that in all the four provinces and Islamabad the majority of those acquitted have either “re-joined terrorist groups” or their activities “are being confirmed”.

The highest number of those arrested (after having been acquitted by the courts) is a miserly 13 for Islamabad-GB-AJK followed by 10 by Punjab, nine by KPK-Fata and one by Sindh.

On the other hand, no one acquitted by the courts in Balochistan has been ever re-arrested.

This is not the first document that has highlighted the trend of those acquitted returning to the activities they were suspected of.

According to a report of a security agency submitted to the Federal Review Board (a judicial body formed by the Supreme Court to examine the detention cases of suspects) the men accused of plotting attacks on former president Pervez Musharraf, the Danish embassy, Surgeon-General Mushtaq Baig and a military bus in R.A. Bazaar had re-joined the terrorist outfits after their acquittal by the courts.

The story of the doctor brothers

Dr Akmal Waheed, a cardiologist, and his brother Dr Arshad Waheed were accused of having links with Al Qaeda, attacking the convoy of the Karachi corps commander in 2004 and financially aiding and harbouring activists of the banned outfit, Jundullah.

They were, however, exonerated of the charges in 2006. Two years later in March 2008, it was reported that Dr Arshad was killed in a US drone attack in Waziristan.

Two accomplices of the acquitted brothers, Mohammad Ilyas alias Qari Jamil and Mohammad Rizwan alias Shamsul Haq, are in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. Both were tried, along with others, for allegedly attacking the Danish embassy, a serving army general and a military bus.

The district administration of Islamabad on the request of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) issued their detention orders but the IHC in last year set aside these orders.

On December 15, 2010, the ATC of Islamabad acquitted Qari Ilyas of the charges of being involved in a suicide attack which had killed 15 policemen and two civilians near Islamabad’s Melody Market on July 6, 2008.

The policemen were guarding a congregation to mark the first anniversary of the July 2007 military operation against the clerics of the Lal Masjid. According to the prosecution, Qari Ilyas was allegedly giving instructions to the suicide bomber before he launched the attack on the policemen.

It has repeatedly been reported that the weak prosecution and half-baked evidence led to the acquittal of hundreds of suspects allegedly involved in high-profile terrorist activities.

Because of threats, backtracking of witnesses and weak evidence, the trial courts acquit the accused persons.

If the suspects are detained over some suspicions, they are set free at the high court level as most of the time intelligence agencies and police fail to produce credible evidence and sufficient supportive material to justify their detention.


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Comments (18) Closed

Naushad Shafkat Oct 19, 2013 08:31am

Did anyone think otherwise? That was natural and expected. Release more.

muzammil ullah khan Oct 19, 2013 08:51am

Tell it to our beloved CJP who is for ever looking for missing persons . Under his leadership the courts have really inflicted immense harm on the society . History will prove that this CJP really messed up things pertaining to judiciary .

observer Oct 19, 2013 09:01am

The following facts emerge from the 'Report'.

A. Courts, rightly, let 'Our Own People', go free.

B. Our Own People, then promptly go back to 'Enemy Sponsored Activities'.

C. Some times 'Our Own People' then become 'Innocent Targets' of Drones.

The conclusion then clearly is, that they are 'Our Own People' while in Court and when they are targeted by Drones. Other times they become innocent victims of the designs of the enemies of Pakistan.

Ali Azhar Oct 19, 2013 09:54am

No matter how extra judicial it looks and cruel as well. The only solution is to kill them or tame them instead of turning them up to court proceedings setup which in anyway will end into acquittal. Alternatively they should be exposed to lie detector/polygraph tests or even truth serum (Narco analysis) and their statements and secrets recorded in black n white..

Faisal Oct 19, 2013 01:23pm

A bitter truth. An eye opener for all those who are raising their voices against illegal detentions. Judiciary is failed to provide justice. CJ has really disappointed.

Naved Oct 19, 2013 01:42pm

Anyone please can inform Prime minister Nawaz Sharif about this grave situation. Normally, he is only informed about Karachi situation and expresses his concern about it. This is a wake up call for government. Government needs to make laws urgently to control this situation.

rehan Oct 19, 2013 03:26pm

Unbelievable! many of our policemen must have died even capturing these terrorists again and again, who are set free by our Efficient Judiciary.

Haq Oct 19, 2013 05:49pm

This is why Pakistan is under attack. No one fears consequences because consequences in the 'Land of the Pure and God fearing (and spokesmen-for-God fearing)' usually look like 'forgive and forget'. Here's a solution to drones, why don't the judiciary and law enforcement do their job!

jg Oct 19, 2013 08:55pm

did the human rights activists and those fighting the missing persons case ever bothered to research the background of these persons,their nature of job and their involvement in heinous crimes. i guess that does not matter as far as they keep on getting fed by their foreign masters.making mockery of justice system is the name of the game these days.

sarwat Oct 20, 2013 04:03am

So all the efforts to catch them first time around are wasted. How silly of our courts. They should have been given life sentences or death penalty depending upon their crimes. They are criminals now we are back to square one. What a foresight our courts have, wonderful! it just amazes me.

murad khan Oct 20, 2013 05:31am

does that mean our people in justice dept arent capable. because all i feel that it would be the reason.

Faizan Oct 20, 2013 01:56pm

The only way to induce fear in the hearts and minds of your enemy/ terrorists is by killing them... leniency can only make them stronger and fearless. The army should behead all those indicted with terrorist acts rather then releasing them as goodwill gesture.

F.R Oct 20, 2013 03:55pm

This clearly shows discrepancies in our Justice system. Pakistani govt and court must review the current justice and those who are booked under the extreme crimes like terrorism should be hanged immediately without waiting for eye witnesses or any further investigation. This is onyl way to stop the curse of terrorism.

Haroon Rooha Oct 20, 2013 09:14pm

Point missed.....Again.......Muslims as are to fight the enemies of Islaam, and un islaamic activities or behavior.Why are the readers not applauding.....?

Kumail Zaidi Oct 21, 2013 06:51pm

This calls for a suo moto action - against the report writers obviously. How dare they release a report which brings Judiciary's limitations in the limelight.

Yadav Prasad Oct 21, 2013 10:32pm

I hope you burn in HELL.

Raj Modi Oct 22, 2013 04:25am

Once brain washed by mullahs with promise of 72 virgins in haven, these young men are doomed. Entire philosophy is wrong, not meant for any civilized world.

Darshan Suyal Oct 22, 2013 01:49pm

@F.R:No, they must be rewarded.