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KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Tuesday allowed Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui to travel abroad.

The MQM MPA, through his lawyer Shaukat Hayat, moved an application seeking permission to travel to Saudi Arabia stating that he was an engineer and working with some consultancy firms in the Kingdom.

The counsel submitted that his client needed to travel to Saudi Arabia in connection with his business and requested to grant him exemption from personal appearance for one month.

The counsel says his client needs to travel to Saudi Arabia in connection with his business

However, Rangers special prosecutor Sajid Mehboob Sheikh opposed the plea, arguing that the suspects were employing tactics to delay the trial against them.

He pleaded with the court to reject Mr Siddiqui’s application and conduct the trial of the case on daily basis.

After hearing arguments, the ATC-II judge allowed the applicant to travel abroad for 10 days and granted him exemption from appearance. It also allowed applications moved by former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain and Saleem Shahzad seeking exemption from personal appearance in the case.

Defence counsel Amir Raza Naqvi informed the court that Dr Asim needed to travel to Dubai, where his hospital was being set up. However, the Rangers special prosecutor opposed the plea.

Hearing was fixed for June 22.

Rauf Siddiqui is one of the co-accused in the case for sheltering and harbouring terrorists against former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain.

Dr Asim has been charged with treating and harbouring suspected terrorists, political militants and gangsters at his hospital at the behest of Pak Sarzameen Party president Anis Qaimkhani, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Mr Siddiqui, PPP’s Abdul Qadir Patel, Usman Moazzam of Pasban and former MQM leader Saleem Shahzad.

Jail trial of ‘hitman’ recommended

Meanwhile, the prison authorities recommended jail trial of an accused Raisuddin, alias Raees Mama, in the judicial complex inside the Central Jail Karachi (CJK) citing “high risks” in his movement from the prison for his production in ATC-II.

In a letter submitted to the court, the prison’s superintendent said movement outside the prison of the high-profile “target killer”, said to be associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, was considered high-risk from security point of view.

The prison chief said the matter had already been moved to the provincial home department for conducting his trial inside the CJK, but a notification to this effect was still awaited.

Raees Mama is facing trial in more than six cases pertaining to attack on a bus carrying policemen in Chakra Goth, targeted killings of policemen and others.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2018