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KARACHI: An accused militant, Saad Aziz, testified before an antiterrorism court denying his involvement in an attempt on the life of American educationist Debra Lobo in 2015.

Saad Aziz, alias Tin Tin, with his four accomplices have been charged with shooting at and wounding Ms Lobo, the vice principal of Karachi’s Jinnah Medical and Dental College, on Shaheed-i-Millat Road in April 2015.

Read more: What does the attack on Debra Lobo mean?

According to the prosecution, Ms Lobo was on her way home in the Defence Housing Authority in a car when the attack took place. Although she survived, Ms Lobo suffered two bullet wounds on her hand and face.

Claims he is not associated with any militant group

During an identification parade conducted by a judicial magistrate on June 27, 2015, an eyewitness had rightly picked out main accused Saad Aziz as the primary shooter.

In his statement recently recorded before the ATC-XVI judge, Mr Aziz testified that he was not associated with any militant outfit, as the police investigators claimed that he was inspired by the Islamic State militant group and associated with Al Qaeda.

He further deposed that he did not even know Debra Lobo before the incident, adding that the personnel of law enforcement agencies in plainclothes had picked him up from his home on May 18, 2015.

The accused deposed that the law enforcers showed his arrest after a ‘fake’ encounter in Gulshan-i-Maymar on May 20, 2015. He said an alleged witness, Javed, had identified him as one of the attackers during an identification parade before a judicial magistrate, adding that later Javed kept visiting the office of the Counter-Terrorism Department.

Read: Anatomy of a murder

The accused testified that the law enforcers had already shown his face to Javed, who even sat with him in the vehicle when he was being taken to court for the identification parade.

Earlier, survivor Debra Lobo had refused to identify Saad Aziz as the one who had attacked her.

After recording his statement, the ATC-XVI judge, who is conducting trial at the judicial complex inside the central prison, reserved his verdict in the case.

A business graduate from a prestigious Karachi business school, Saad and his other accomplices were handed over to military authorities in January 2016 to face trial before military courts in 18 cases, including cases of the Safoora Goth bus carnage, murder of Sabeen Mahmud, killing of policemen, attempted murder and carrying explosive substances and illicit weapons.

The military court had sentenced Saad Aziz, Tahir Minhas, Asadur Rehman, Mohammad Azhar Ishrat and Hafiz Nasir Ahmed to death in May 2016 in the cases.

Later, the convicts were handed back to the jail authorities to face trial in other cases pending before antiterrorism courts.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2018