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KARACHI: A prosecution witness on Thursday identified six associates of the former home minister, Dr Zulfikar Mirza, before an antiterrorism court in a case pertaining to alleged violence during a protest in Badin in May 2015.

Dr Mirza and his more than 50 aides have been charged with storming a police station in the city, abusing police officials, forcing traders and shopkeepers to shut down their businesses in the district, attempting to kill two shopkeepers and robbing their shops, rioting, blocking road and causing damage to properties.

They were booked in three cases registered in Badin district. The proceedings were shifted to Karachi after the judge of Badin antiterrorism court had rescued himself from the case.

On Thursday, the ATC-I judge recorded statements of two prosecution witnesses in one case.

The disgruntled leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party and former minister Mr Mirza appeared before the court along with his defence counsel Ashraf Samon and Javed Mir.

The prosecution witness, Imtiaz Memon, deposed that he was running a shop in the Badin market. He further deposed that on the day of incident around six associates of Dr Zulfiqar Mirza came to the market, made an attempt on his life, restored to firing and looted around Rs4.5 million from his shop and fled by hurling threats of dire consequences.

The witness also identified the six men as the accused persons against whom he had registered an FIR in Badin and had later identified them during an identification parade before a judicial magistrate. He also affirmed the contents of the said FIR.

The court recorded the statement of a judicial magistrate concerned, who deposed that on the application of the investigation officer he had arranged an identification parade of six suspects.

He further deposed that during the parade the complainant Imtiaz Memon had rightly picked them up as the men who had allegedly committed the offence.

Meanwhile, the defence counsel for the former home minister Zulfiqar Mirza — Javed Mir and Ashraf Samon — held cross-examination of both the prosecution witnesses.

Later, the court summoned other prosecution witnesses and fixed the next hearing for Oct 4.

Earlier, Mr Mirza was granted pre-arrest bail in these cases, stating that the same were politically motivated.

However, in May last year, the court had indicted Mirza along with his over 50 aides for storming a police station in Badin, abusing the police officials, forcibly shutting down the markets in the district, trying to kill two shopkeepers and robbing their shops, rioting, blocking road and damaging property during a sit-in on May 3, 2015.

Two cases were registered against the former home minister and his aides on complaints of two traders, Imtiaz Memon and Haji Taj Mohammad, who alleged in the FIRs that the accused persons had made an attempt on their lives, forced them to shut their business, extended threats and took away cash from their shops.

Another case was registered against Dr Mirza and others on a complaint of Badin’s additional SHO Wali Mohammad Chand for allegedly storming the police station to get a case registered against Mr Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and others.

The FIR said that the former home minister had argued with the police, snatched the mobile phone of a police officer and flung it to the ground when the latter refused to register an FIR. He also ransacked the police station.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2018