KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Saturday issued a show-cause notice to an official of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) for not providing data of three absconding suspects to the investigating officer of a case pertaining to treatment and harbouring of alleged terrorists at the hospitals of former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain.

The Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, registered an FIR against Dr Asim for allegedly treating and sheltering suspected terrorists and gangsters wounded in shootouts with law-enforcers at the North Nazimabad and Clifton branches of his hospital at the behest of some Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Peoples Party leaders.

MQM leaders Waseem Akhtar, Rauf Siddiqui, Anis Qaimkhani and Saleem Shahzad, PPP’s Abdul Qadir Patel and Pasban’s Usman Moazzam are also named for allegedly abetting the offence.

The media was barred from attending the court proceedings for unexplained reasons.

Court sources said that the ATC-II unsealed documents which were seized by first IO Rao Zulfiqar, regarding treatment of several alleged terrorists and gangsters at Dr Ziauddin Hospitals and their criminal record.

The court would provide the copies of the documents to the suspects on the next date of hearing under Section 265-C of the criminal procedure code.

At the outset of the hearing, the current IO, DSP Altaf Hussain, submitted a report regarding the warrants issued against the three absconders — Anis Qaimkhani, Saleem Shahzad and Qadir Patel.

He submitted that he approached Nadra to obtain details of the absconders, but officials concerned did not entertain his request.

The court issued a show-cause notice to the Karachi director of Nadra for Feb 22.

The court also reissued the non-bailable warrants against the absconders.

MQM’s mayoral nominee Akhtar and MPA Rauf Siddiqui were present in court and the court extended their interim pre-arrest bail till the next hearing.

Advocate Rana Khalid, the law officer of Rangers who is representing the complainant in this case, once again expressed his dissatisfaction over the present IO for allegedly damaging the case of the prosecution.

Dr Asim, a close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari, is also facing a graft inquiry by the National Accountability Bureau into alleged misuse of authority in fraudulent allotment of plots and encroachment of state land for Dr Ziauddin Hospitals/Trust, illegal gains, kickbacks and commission through the fertiliser cartel for illegal curtailment of gas for exploitative price hike and black-marketing, fraud with public in the name of charity hospital and money-laundering.

Baldia factory fire JIT report sent to home dept

Police informed a sessions court on Saturday that a joint investigation team formed to reinvestigate the Baldia factory fire case had completed its report and it was being sent to the provincial home department for approval.

Over 250 factory workers died in a devastating fire that engulfed a multi-storey industrial unit in Baldia Town in September 2012.

The police charge-sheeted the factory owner, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and his two sons, Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, a general manager and some gatekeepers in the case.

However, the reinvestigation of the case was ordered in March, 2015 after a report prepared by a JIT in 2013 was submitted in the Sindh High Court in February 2015 stating that one Rizwan Qureshi, a political worker who was arrested in an illicit weapon case in June 2013, disclosed that the factory was set on fire after its owners failed to pay protection money.

The court has been repeatedly asking the police to complete the investigation and submit the report.

When the case came up for hearing before Additional District and Sessions Judge (west) Maqbool Memon on Saturday, the IO, SP Sajid Sadozai, informed the court that the JIT had completed its final report and the same was being sent to the home department for approval and further orders and thereafter the report would be accordingly placed in court.

However, the judge chided the police and deplored that despite the passage of over three years they were still unable to determine the real culprits.

The owners of the ill-fated industrial unit, who are on bail, sent applications seeking exemption from appearance claiming that they were getting death threats and since living abroad.

The court adjourned the hearing till March 5 and directed the owners’ counsel to satisfy the court as to why their clients were living abroad and what kind of threats they were facing.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2016

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