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PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court here on Wednesday acquitted a woman of the charge of facilitating the 2015 attack on PAF camp in Badabher, which had killed 43 people, including 14 terrorists.

After the counsel for the two sides finished arguments, the judge pronounced acquittal ruling that the prosecution failed to prove its case against the accused, Zari Zadgai, while the evidence on record, too, didn’t connect her with the commission of the offence.

The court also issued perpetual warrants for the arrest of 15 of the absconding accused, including Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan commanders Mufti Abuzar, Qari Shabir, Qari Saifullah, Qari Sherzaman and Mufti Abdul Wakeel. They have already been declared absconders by the court. The counter-terrorism department had claimed that the woman was arrested in Telaband area of Peshawar, where she lived with Tariq Khan, an absconder in the case.

It had added that the woman used to visit the PAF camp by impersonating a beggar and collected information for terrorists sheltering in her house.

The CTD had claimed that the accused also made food for terrorists, who were killed during the 2015 attack, and also provided them with sought-after items, including used plastic bottles.

Shabir Hussain Gigyani, lawyer for the accused, said his client was falsely implicated in the case.

He said the documents submitted by the prosecution proved that the woman was taken into custody on Oct 5, 2015, and her arrest was formally acknowledged in Feb 2016 after prolonged illegal custody.

The lawyer said under the rules, a woman suspect couldn’t be kept in the police station during physical remand and that she had to be interrogated inside the prison, but during six days physical custody with the CTD, his client was kept at the police station.

He added that a so-called confession statement of the accused, which the prosecution had relied on, was secured under duress.

Mr Gigyani claimed that the prosecution didn’t produce any evidence showing that the accused used to visit the PAF camp.

He added that not a single witness had been presented from the said camp to testify that they had seen his client there begging.

The lawyer said CCTV cameras were installed across the camp and if the woman had visited it, the prosecution should have produced any footage in this connection.

Pakistan Army Captain Asfandyar was also martyred in the 2015 attack.He was among16 people, who were killed inside the camp offering Fajr prayer at a mosque. Seven others were killed in the ablution area of the mosque. The TTP had claimed responsibility for the attack afterward.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2018