KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Tuesday remanded former Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Saleem Shahzad to prison in a case pertaining to providing shelter and treatment to suspected terrorists.

The court also issued notices to the prosecution till Feb 11 on an application of the suspect for bail and another application seeking better facilities in prison.

Former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain, the main accused in the case, has been booked for allegedly treating and harbouring suspected terrorists, political militants and gangsters at his hospital. Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar, Pak Sarzameen Party president Anis Kaimkhani, MQM-P lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui, PPP’s Abdul Qadir Patel, Usman Moazzam of Pasban and Saleem Shahzad have been named as co-accused for allegedly requesting Dr Asim for the treatment of suspected militants.

Saleem Shahzad, who was declared a proclaimed offender in August last year, was arrested shortly after he landed at the Karachi airport from Dubai on Feb 6.

Police produced Syed Saleem-ul-Haq alias Saleem Shahzad before the in-charge judge of ATC-II on Tuesday when investigating officer DSP Altaf Hussain asked the court to send him to prison because he was not required for questioning.

The suspect through his lawyer, Mehmood Alam Rizvi, moved a set of applications seeking bail, B-class facility in jail, medical treatment, and return of his personal belongings.

In the bail application, the counsel submitted that the applicant came back to Pakistan to surrender himself before the court and to file bail and acquittal applications as he was falsely framed in the case, but he was arrested at the airport.

He argued that the applicant was entitled for the bail as the court had granted bail to all other co-accused in the case.

The counsel submitted that the applicant was a graduate and eligible for better facilities in prison.

While seeking medical treatment in prison, the lawyer contended that his client was suffering from cancer and needed chemotherapy. He also informed the court that his UK passport, CNIC, suitcase, mobile phones and other belongings were in police custody and sought return of these articles.

The court sent the suspect to prison on judicial remand till Feb 18 and directed the IO to submit a supplementary charge sheet by the next hearing.

While issuing notice on bail and B-class pleas, the judge directed the jail authorities to provide necessary treatment to the suspect and also asked the IO to return the essential personal belongings.

According to the prosecution, the co-accused had allegedly asked Dr Asim to provide medical treatment to militants, gangsters and activists of banned militant outfits at Ziauddin hospitals after they sustained wounds in shoot-outs with police and the Rangers.

A case was registered on the complaint of a deputy superintendent of Rangers under multiple sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the North Nazimabad police station. Although the IO had “cleared” Dr Asim and others for what he claimed was lack of evidence in December 2015, the administrative judge of the ATCs had thrown out the police report and took cognizance after considering the available material sufficient to put the accused on trial.

Later, Saleem Shahzad told reporters on the premises of ATCs that he had come back to face the cases.

Replying to a question about which political party he was going to join, he told the reporters to wait and see which party would be ready to take him in its fold. But he would certainly decide soon to join a political party, he added. Responding to a question about the PSP, he said its leaders were kids when he entered politics.

When a reporter asked that MQM-P was reportedly not accepting him, the former MQM leader said that he would respond with proof to all questions regarding MQM-P at an appropriate time.

The Rangers’ law officer, Sajid Mahboob Shaikh, who is representing the complainant before the court, told the reporters that the IO should seek the custody of the suspect for questioning. He alleged that the IO was damaging the case and they had also asked the provincial police officer to replace him.

Suspect remanded in diplomat’s murder

A judicial magistrate remanded a security guard in police custody for one week in a case pertaining to the murder of an Afghan diplomat.

Hayatullah, an Afghan national and an employee of the Afghan consulate, has been booked for allegedly killing third secretary Mohammad Zaki Abdu over a personal dispute inside the Afghan consulate in Clifton on Feb 6.

Police produced the suspect before a judicial magistrate (south) and sought his custody for questioning.

The magistrate handed him over to police on seven-day physical remand and directed the IO to produce him along with progress report at the next hearing.

A case was registered at the Boat Basin police station under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the consulate’s protocol officer.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2017

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