ATC acquits ‘TTP commander’ in explosives, illegal weapons cases

Updated 05 Oct 2019

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ATC-XIII judge noted that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations levelled against the accused. — Reuters/File
ATC-XIII judge noted that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations levelled against the accused. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Friday exonerated a man, said to be a ‘commander’ of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, in cases pertaining to possessing explosives and illicit arms.

The Counter-Terrorism Depa­rtment arrested Rehman Hussain alias Ustad Jee, said to be associated with the TTP-Swat’s Fazlullah group, on the outskirts of the metropolis on Jan 29.

The ATC-XIII judge noted that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations levelled against the accused. He added that there were contradictions in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses and the evidence, thus creating doubts in the case.

Concluding arguments in Perween Rahman’s murder trial deferred

The judge directed prison authorities to release the man forthwith if his custody was not required in any other case.

According to the prosecution, Hussain was a TTP commander and had been trained in Afghanistan. He was appointed a commander after the killing of Sher Bahadur and his name was also placed in the CTD’s Red Book.

The court framed charges against the accused after the CTD investigating officer, Inspector Shahid Karim, charge-sheeted him for possessing explosives and an unlicensed pistol with an intention to carry out some major terrorist activity in the city. However, the accused had pleaded not guilty and opted to contest.

During the trial, Hussain recorded his statement under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code, denying the allegations and pleaded his innocence.

Defence counsel Saifullah argued that the there were major contradictions in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses with regard to the timing of the arrest of his client.

He added that there were also contradictions with regard to the alleged recovery of the weapon and a grenade from the possession of the accused.

He pleaded to the court to declare the case as doubtful and acquit his client, who was framed in a false and fabricated case without strong evidence to connect his role with the commissioning of the alleged offence.

Special public prosecutor Ghulam Murtaza Maitlo submitted that the accused rented a house in Frontier Colony, where he was allegedly planning a major terrorism activity.

He added that the circumstantial and ocular evidence fully corroborated the prosecution’s case, as recoveries of around two kilograms of explosives, six tennis ball bombs, two pressure-cooker bombs and a hand-grenade were made from his possession.

The prosecutor rested his side after examining around five witnesses and pleaded to the court to punish him according to the law.

Two separate cases were registered under Sections 3/4 of the Explosive Substances Act and Section 23(i)-A of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 on the complaint of Sub-inspector Syed Safdar Ali at the CTD South police station.

Perween Rahman murder case

The same court, meanwhile, deferred the concluding arguments in renowned social activist Perween Rahman’s murder trial following a restraining order issued by the Sindh High Court.

Ms Rahman, the head of the Orangi Pilot Project, was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013.

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

On Friday, the ATC-XIII judge deferred the hearing due to a restraining order passed by the SHC on Dec 22.

The judge fixed the matter for Oct 20 for final arguments.

On Dec 22, the SHC issued an interim order, restraining the trial court from pronouncing judgement in the present case.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2019