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KARACHI: An antiterrorism court has sentenced a convict to 10 years in jail for collecting funds for Taliban militants and their wings fighting security agencies in Mohmand Agency.

Ismail Khan was charged with collecting funds for the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan faction.

The ATC-X judge, who conducted trial in judicial complex inside the Central Jail Karachi, pronounced his verdict after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

The judge observed that the prosecution proved its charges against the detained accused beyond a shadow of a doubt and convicted him under Section 11-F(6) and 11-W(2) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The judge awarded him a sentence of five-years rigorous imprisonment in each section with a fine of Rs100,000. On default, Khan was ordered to undergo additional six-month rigorous imprisonment. Both sentences will run concurrently.

The Counter-Terrorism Department officials, on a tip-off about presence of a man belonging to proscribed outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, arrested Hazrat Khan at the Numaish Chowrangi on January 31.

During his search, the officials recovered two receipt books printed with ‘Chanda Barae Mujahideen Lawahiqeen Aal Saafi Mohmand Welfare Association, Karachi, Sindh’, from him.

According to the prosecution, the detained man disclosed during interrogation that he had been collecting alms with the connivance of his accomplice Aurangzeb Mohmand and collected Rs8,600 each from 18 persons.

He further disclosed that his other accomplice had left for Mohmand Agency along with the collected alms for providing aid to the TTP’s Qari Shakeel Group. He was booked under the Section 11-F(6) and 11-W(2) read with the Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Section 11-F relates to membership, support and meetings related to a proscribed organisation and sub-section (6) provides that “a person guilty of an offence under sub-sections (3),(4), and (5) shall be liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment, not less than one year and not more than five years and a fine”.

Section 11-W pertains to printing, publishing or disseminating any material to incite hatred or giving projection to any person convicted for a terrorist act or any proscribed organisation or an organisation placed under observation or anyone concerned in terrorism.

Sub-section 2 provides that “any person guilty of an offence under sub-section (1) shall be punishable on conviction with imprisonment which may extend to five years and with fine.”

During the trial, defence counsel Shahzad Abdullah argued that the accused was arrested by the law enforcement agency on December 12, 2017, but he was sent to the higher authorities after a delay of 10 days. He added that the father of his client had moved an application to the high-ups regarding alleged detention of his son.

The court found nothing on record to suggest the fate of such application and as to whether any inquiry was held or any adverse action was taken in this regard at any forum concerned.

The prosecution argued that the police record showed that the detained accused remained involved in other cases and was a hardened and desperate person/criminal.

Extortionists sentenced

The same court meanwhile also awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment to two extortionists and imposed a fine of Rs100,000 each as it found them guilty of the charges.

Farid Ahmed, alias Nomi and Mohammad Shahab have been charged with demanding Rs500,000 protection money from complainant Usman Ghani and threatening to kill him over non-payment of the protection money.

Farid Ahmed was also convicted and sentenced to six-year rigorous imprisonment and ordered to pay Rs100,000 fine. On default, he would undergo serve rigorous imprisonment for six months.

Two separate cases were registered under Section 384 (punishment for extortion), 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and Section 23(I)-A of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 at the Risala police station.

According to the prosecution, Usman Ghani lodged a complaint at the Risala police station, stating that he received an anonymous call on Dec 15, 2017 and the caller demanded Rs500,000 protection money and threatened to kill him over non-payment of the money within two days.

It further alleged that the calls data record (CDR) of the mobile phones of the accused corroborated the allegations that they contacted the complainant to demand protection money as well as they also were connected with each other using the same cellular phones and SIM cards.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2018