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KARACHI: An antiterrorism court reserved on Monday its order on the bail application of the prime accused in a case pertaining to the murder of renowned social activist Perween Rahman.

Ms Rahman, head of the Orangi Pilot Project who devoted her life to the development of impoverished neighbourhoods, was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013.

Five accused — Ayaz Shamzai alias Swati, Amjad Hussain Khan, Ahmed Khan alias Ahmed Ali alias Pappu Kashmiri, Mohammad Imran Swati and Raheem Swati — have been charged with her murder.

On Monday, the ATC-XIII judge took up the bail plea filed by Raheem Swati, the prime accused, to hear arguments from the prosecution and the complainant’s sides.

Advocate Salahuddin Panhwar, the counsel for the complainant, opposed the bail plea, arguing that the applicant was the main accused who had made a murder plan and executed it with the help of his co­accused.

Police provide no security to prosecution witnesses despite threats

He submitted that he remained absconding for three years and was arrested by the police on the directives of the Supreme Court.

He submitted that the accused opted to voluntarily “confess” his crime before a police officer.

Arguing that the accused was dangerous, could tamper with the evidence and the lives of witnesses would be at risk, he pleaded to dismiss the bail.

The prosecutor adopted Advocate Panhwar’s arguments and also opposed the bail plea and requested the court to dismiss it.

After hearing their arguments, the court reserved its order on the bail plea to be pronounced on Tuesday (today).

Swati moved the bail plea through his counsel, Shamroz Khan, who argued that his client’s name was not mentioned in the FIR and the police did not assign any role to him in the offence.

There was no direct evidence against him as well, he said, adding that his client was innocent but being incarcerated for a long time. He pleaded to grant him bail.

Previously, the court had dismissed a similar application of co-accused Imran Swati, who has been charged with facilitating the killers, including his father and main accused Raheem Swati, and concealing information about them.

Security for witnesses ordered, again

No prosecution witnesses turned up in court on Monday to record their statements.

Advocate Panhwar informed the court that the witnesses were scared of coming to court as they were facing serious threats and despite a court order they were not provided any security.

The court repeated its directive to the SSP West to provide adequate security to the prosecution witnesses, including nine private persons, so that they could appear in court and record their testimonies on Sept 18.

It also directed the investigation officer of the case as well as the complainant’s counsel to ensure presence of the witnesses on the next date.

The investigation officer had listed 29 witnesses in the charge sheet, but only nine of them had so far been examined by the court.

A case was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Pirabad police station. Later, Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 was incorporated in the case on a directive of the Supreme Court that also had ordered a judicial inquiry into the case by the then district and sessions judge (West), Ghulam Mustafa Memon.

Arrest warrant for ex-SHO issued

The same court on Monday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against former SHO Tariq Raheem in the Intizar murder case.

It directed the IO to arrest and produce the ex-SHO since his interim pre-arrest bail had recently been cancelled by the Sindh High Court. A notice was also issued to his guarantor to appear in court and explain his whereabouts.

Eight officials of the Anti-Car Lifting Cell, including then SHO Tariq Mehmood, inspectors Azhar Ahsan and Tariq Raheem, head constable Shahid and constables Ghulam Abbas, Fawad Khan, Mohammad Daniyal and Bilal Rasheed have been charged with killing 19-year-old student Intizar Ahmed on the night of Jan 13 in Defence.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018