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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has set aside a man’s conviction by an anti-terrorism court for attempting to plant an improvised explosive device here last year and ordered his release.

Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Mohammad Ayub Khan accepted the appeal of convict Ghulam Mohammad, a resident of Garyala village in Mardan, observing that the evidence on record didn’t connect him with the commission of the offence.

An anti-terrorism court had convicted him on Apr 23, 2018, and sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and Section 5 of the Explosive Substance Act.

The appellant’s counsel, Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, said the counter-terrorism department claimed to have arrested his client on Aug 15, 2017, planting a five kilogrammes explosive device near a bridge on Budhni Road here.

He said the CTD officials claimed that they were present near the Islamia College Peshawar when they received information that a terrorist had been planting an explosive device after which they moved towards the place and arrested him with explosive device along with detonators, safety fuses and detonating cords.

The lawyer said the Islamia College was over an hour drive from that place and it was beyond logic that the appellant would be digging land and planting the device in broad daylight for many hours.

He claimed that the appellant was in fact taken into custody by the law-enforcement agencies from near his house in Mardan district and several local residents had confirmed it in the trial court.

Mr Gigyani added that the appellant had remained missing for around two months before being charged in a fabricated case registered by the CTD.

He said the trial court had overlooked several important points and erred while convicting the appellant despite no concrete evidence was available on record.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2018