KARACHI: An antiterrorism court directed the SSP investigation concerned on Monday to ensure the presence of the investigating officer and prosecution witnesses to testify against Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Dr Farooq Sattar and others charged with provoking violence and arson to obstruct the eviction of families occupying government houses in the Pakistan Quarters area.

Dr Sattar and around 300 to 400 others have been charged with allegedly instigating violence, rioting and armed assault on local administration officials and law enforcers during an hours-long standoff between residents and officials on Oct 24, 2018 within the remit of the Soldier Bazaar police station.

On Monday, the matter was fixed before the ATC-XVII judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, for recording evidence of the prosecution witnesses. However, the IO did not turn up, nor did the prosecution witnesses.

The judge took notice of the IO’s failure to appear and produce the witnesses. The judge issued a letter to the SSP investigation concerned with the direction to ensure the presence of the IO with the witnesses before the court for recording their testimonies at every cost, and fixed the matter on Jan 28.

IO told to file a final report against the men held for killing an army officer during robbery

In July 2019, the IO had charge-sheeted Dr Sattar, Shamim Ahmed, Qazi Faisal Siddiqui, Raheemuddin, Asif Raza, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Idrees, Asif Ali, Mohammad Osama, Santosh, Altaf Hussain, Mohammad Ayaz, Nadeem Ahmed and 300 to 400 unknown residents.

According to the prosecution, the police and local administration officials reached the area on Oct 24, 2018 to get the accommodations vacated after ejectment notices were issued by the state. However, 300 to 400 residents, including women and children, who were armed with sticks and stones, abused the officials and attacked them, it added.

It further stated that water cannons and teargas shells were used to disperse the protesters, but they blocked Nishtar Road and also damaged official vehicles. Eight policemen, including SHO sub-inspector Naveed Soomro, constables Zaman Abbas, Mohammad Waqar, Mohammad Rizwan, Izhar Ahmed, Munir Ahmed and Abid Alim, were injured, it added.

The charge sheet stated that 13 of them were arrested while Dr Sattar and scores of others fled.

Initially, a case was registered under sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation), 337-A (punishment for Shajjah), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of the PPC at the Soldier Bazaar police station.

Later, Section 7 (acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 was incorporated in the FIR on the recommendation of the state prosecutor.

Army major’s murder case

An antiterrorism court has directed the investigating officer to file a final investigation report against the held suspects for their alleged involvement in killing an army officer during an armed robbery.

Mohammad Noman, alias Maru and Umar Farooq, alias Babu, have been booked for the murder of Major Saqib Iqbal during a robbery on M.A. Jinnah Road in June 2019.

The matter was fixed before the ATC-II judge for filing final charge sheet when the suspects were produced from prison.

The IO moved an application in court stating that the reports of a joint investigation team (JIT) and forensic experts were still awaited, thus the final investigation report in the present case could not be filed. He asked for more time to collect complete evidence and file the final charge sheet.

The judge granted the application and allowed the IO to submit the final charge sheet by Jan 17 and adjourned the hearing.

According to the police, the suspects murdered Major Iqbal when he allegedly resisted a mugging attempt on M.A. Jinnah Road.

The CCTV footage of the incident went viral on social media showing one suspect trying to snatch valuables from the victim and shooting him on resistance.

They further said that the suspects had stopped their motorcycle a few yards from an ATM from where the army officer was drawing cash. One of the suspects came to mug the major, who overpowered him. However, the suspect shot and killed him and rode away with his accomplice, the police added.

A case was registered under sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 (acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the Arambagh police station on a complaint of the victim’s brother, Atif Iqbal.

The same court, meanwhile, directed the IO to file a final charge sheet in another case pertaining to possession of arms and explosives.

Earlier, the IO appeared and produced the case property.

However, the judge noted that the evidence was incomplete and told the IO to produce entire evidence on Jan 20.

The suspects have been booked in a case lodged under Section 23(i)-A of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 and sections 4/5 of the Explosive Substances Act at the SITE Superhighway Industrial Area police station.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2020