KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Saturday acquitted a former Muttahida Qaumi Movement legislator and six others of charges of distributing compact discs (CDs) containing anti-state speeches of their London-based party chief Altaf Hussain.
Former MPA Sheeraz Waheed; Naeem Shamshad; M. Nabeel; Mubeen, alias Pakistani; Danish Saeed; Ali Hasan, alias Guddu and Syed Mohammad Shoaib were acquitted of the charges of distributing CDs, which contained speeches and statements to wage war against the state, among the people in an Ahsanabad locality in 2016.
On Saturday, the ATC-II judge pronounced her judgement reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides on Oct 5. All the accused appeared on bail. The judge noted that the prosecution failed to prove allegations against the legislator and others beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt.
The judge cancelled their bail and also discharged their surety. The case against a proclaimed offender, Syed Azhar Ali, alias Anna, was kept on the dormant file until his arrest or surrender.
On Oct 5, the court had reserved its judgement after hearing final arguments from both sides.
According to the prosecution, former lawmaker Waheed along with his around 15 accomplices allegedly distributed CDs, which contained speeches and statements of MQM chief Altaf Hussain to wage war or attempt or abet to wage war against the country, among the people in Ahsanabad.
In the final arguments, special public prosecutor Nazir Ahmed Bhangwar had contended that the prosecution had enough evidence, including 32 such CDs recovered by the police from the custody of the MPA at the time of his arrest, and eyewitnesses and other material to prove the allegations against the accused. He pleaded to convict them in accordance with the law.
On the other hand, the defence counsel, advocates Asadullah Memon and Firdous Faridi, argued that the police framed their clients in the present case with mala fide intentions and had levelled false and fabricated charges against their clients for ulterior motives.
The counsel pleaded with the court to acquit their clients and that they were innocent and had nothing to do with the offence.
A case was registered under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan), 123-A, (condemnation of the creation of the state and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty), 124-A (sedition) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the SITE Superhighway Industrial Area police station.
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2019