KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Wednesday handed down a collective imprisonment of 29 years to a former student on charges of terrorism, possessing explosives and illicit arms.
Syed Rehan Zaidi alias Ali Budha was found guilty of possessing explosives and an illicit weapon, terrorism, encounter with law enforcers and attempting to murder in the remit of Mochko police station on Oct 2, 2017.
The ATC-X judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his verdict after recording evidence and arguments from both sides.
The judge also ordered the convict to pay Rs150,000 fine or serve an additional sentence of six months on default.
According to the prosecution, a police party during routine patrolling saw a suspicious man walking on the Hub River Road near Lucky Charhai adjacent to the Jamia Faruqia on Oct 2, 2017.
When signalled to stop by the police, he allegedly put up resistance, fired shots with a pistol at the police party with an intention to kill and caused deterrence in the discharge of official duties and functions, it added.
However, the police also returned fire and managed to arrest the suspect while he was trying to escape, said the prosecution.
The detained man later disclosed his name as Syed Rehan Zaidi and during search a hand grenade and a 30-bore TT unlicensed pistol with a live bullet was recovered from his possession.
He was arrested and booked in three cases registered under Sections 353, 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 read with Section 4/5 of the Explosives Act and Section 23(I)-A of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013.
During the trial, the detained man denied the allegations and recorded his testimony on oath.
The defence counsel Nazeer Hussain contended that his client was a student, who was not involved in any of the offences, and was studying in the street to prepare for his examinations, when the law enforcers arrested him.
He also produced Zaidi’s registration and admit cards, and two witnesses — Syed Qamar Abbas and Khaliq-ur-Rehman.
The lawyer pleaded to acquit Zaidi of the charges.
On the other hand, the prosecution examined four witnesses, all of them policemen.
Sub-inspector Ghulam Mustafa Arain deposed that he was posted as in-charge of the Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) South Zone on Oct 3, 2017 when he was summoned to the Mochko police station where duty officer sub-inspector Khadim Hussain handed over a recovered hand grenade to him for inspection.
“I found hand grenade to be ‘ARGES-69, plastic body, green colour, made in Pakistan, WAH Factory was written on it,” the bomb disposal expert deposed before the court.
He further said that he found no detonator, therefore, he sealed the grenade and handed it over to the police.
Assistant Prosecutor General Ghulam Abbas Dalwani pleaded to punish the accused according to the law.
Three sentenced over armed assault on police
The same court, in the meantime, awarded a collective sentence of 34-years rigorous imprisonment to three accused in cases pertaining to terrorism and an armed assault on the police in 2017.
The convicts — Farhan Danish, Zeeshan Khan and Kashif Jillani — were found guilty of carrying out an attack on the police, engaging in encounter, attempting to murder and committing terrorism in the remit of the New Karachi police station on Dec 22, 2017.
All of them were arrested and booked in three separate cases under Sections 353, 324, 427 and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Section 23(I)-A of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013, Sections 4/5 of the Explosives Act and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The ATC-X judge, who conducted trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his verdict after recording evidence and arguments from both sides.
The judge observed that the prosecution fully established its case beyond any shadow of doubt.
The judge found them guilty on three counts: armed assault on the law enforcers and encounter, attempted murder and terrorism. Therefore, the court handed down a collective sentence of 34 years of rigorous imprisonment each.
It also imposed a fine of Rs200,000 each on the convicts.
Furthermore, the convict Farhan Danish was also found guilty of possessing an illicit weapon and awarded sentences of five years rigorous jail term and Rs50,000 fine.
According to the prosecution, a police party received information about presence of three motorcyclists allegedly equipped with arms and ammunition on the service road near a marriage lawn in Sector 11-J, New Karachi, with an intention to commit terrorism.
On seeing the police, the motorcyclists opened fire and lobbed a hand grenade that did not explode, the prosecution claimed.
However, after an encounter, the police detained Farhan, Zeeshan and Kashif and recovered one hand grenade each from their possession while they also seized an unlicensed pistol from Danish.
The accused persons were indicted, but they pleaded not guilty and opted to contest.
The defence counsel — Qamar Altaf and Shaikh Moinuddin Pasha — denied the allegations and contended that the prosecution made up a concocted story and requested the court to acquit them.
Assistant Prosecutor General Ghulam Abbas Dalwani argued that the prosecution had enough material evidence available on record and requested the court to convict and punish them accordingly.
Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2018