IO told to produce prosecution witnesses in shrine attack case

Updated October 21, 2019

Email

ATC hears case pertaining to suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan. — APP/File
ATC hears case pertaining to suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan. — APP/File

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court has directed the investigating officers to produce nine prosecution witnesses to record their testimonies against two detained alleged Islamic State-inspired facilitators in a suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan.

The counter-terrorism department claimed to have detained Nadir Ali, alias Murshid, and Furqan, alias Farooq alias Azam, allegedly affiliated with the militant Islamic State group (also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh) over facilitating the deadly bomb blast.

Around 80 people were killed and over 350 others wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the packed-to-capacity courtyard of the shrine of the Sufi saint in February 2017.

As the matter came up before the ATC-XVI judge both the accused Ali and Furqan were produced from the prison.

The investigating officers, Imtiaz Ali and Sohail Ahmed, produced a prosecution witness to record his statement.

The witness, Sarmad Raza, deposed that he was posted as a judicial magistrate when the then district and sessions’ judge of Jamshoro assigned him to record statements of witnesses under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

He also produced copies of the statements of the witnesses along with their affidavits and other relevant documents.

The court recorded the testimony of another witness, medico-legal officer Dr Ghulam Rasool, who also produced the post-mortem reports and other relevant documents.

Another witness, Assistant Sub-Ins­pector Abdul Ghafoor also recorded his statement. The prosecutor gave up two witnesses, ASI Ghulam Hyder and Inspector Abdul Nabi.

The court bound nine more witnesses — including Inspector Ali Hyder, SI Raja Azmat, constables Shoukat and PC Umar, SI Lutuffulah, ASI Muhammad Usman, SI Ali Sher, Pervaiz Ahmed and Muhammad Ramzan to appear on the next date to record their statements in the present case.

The judge fixed the matter for Oct 31, directing the IOs to produce these witnesses on next date of hearing along with case property.

In March, the Hyderabad CTD filed a supplementary charge sheet against Furqan, alias Farooq alias Azam, claiming that he and his other alleged accomplices were affiliated with the militant Islamic State.

Investigating Officer Sohail Ahmed Mirza further mentioned that Furqa, who was arrested on Feb 6, had recorded his confessional statement before a judicial magistrate and admitted that he along with others helped the suicide bomber.

The report contended that the suspect, resident of Quetta, and his accomplices had facilitated the attack on the directive of Mufti Hidayatullah, claimed to have been killed in Balochistan.

Nadir Ali, alias Murshid — resident of Kashmore and arrested in November 2017 — had already been chargesheeted in the present case while Safiullah, Abdul Sattar, Ijaz Bangalzai, Zulqarnain Bangalzai and Tanveer were shown as absconders in the supplementary report.

It added that three absconders were residents of Balochistan and two from Punjab’s Rajanpur district.

The police claimed that Mufti Hidayatullah was killed, but the supplementary charge sheet was silent about his status.

Initially, police claimed to have arrested Furqan and another suspect, Ali Akbar, alias Haji, on Feb 27 in a Gadap locality and found explosive material and unlicensed weapons in their possession. They said that during questioning, Furqan disclosed his involvement in the main case.

The main case was registered under multiple sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, including murder, attempted murder, criminal conspiracy, the Explosive Substances Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act at the Rasool Bux Panhwar police station in Sehwan.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2019