ATC acquits two accused in SP Chaudhry Aslam’s murder case for want of evidence

February 26, 2020

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Former SP Chaudhry Aslam was killed in a suicide bombing in Karachi in Jan 2014. — File
Former SP Chaudhry Aslam was killed in a suicide bombing in Karachi in Jan 2014. — File

An antiterrorism court in Karachi on Wednesday exonerated two detained accused in a case pertaining to the murder of a senior police officer due to lack of evidence.

The accused — Zafar Ali alias Saeen and Obaid alias Aabi — were acquitted of charges of their alleged involvement in the suicide attack on the motorcade of Superintendent of Police Mohammed Aslam Khan, better known as Chaudhry Aslam. The attack took place on the Lyari Expressway in Karachi in January 2014 and had resulted in the deaths of the SP and his two police guards.

The then chief of the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Mullah Fazlullah, was declared a proclaimed offender in the case after the police had declared him untraceable prior to his death in a drone attack in the Kunar province of Afghanistan in June 2018.

On Wednesday, the matter was fixed before the ATC-XIII judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison.

Both the accused, Ali and Obaid, were produced from the prison.

The judge, who had earlier reserved his verdict after recording the evidence and final arguments from both sides, announced the verdict.

The judge noted that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt.

Therefore, the judge acquitted them of the charges of murder, attempted murder, common intent and possession of explosives allegedly used in the suicide attack on the police officer’s convoy on Jan 9, 2014, due to lack of evidence.

The court also directed the prison superintendent to release them forthwith if their custody was not required in any other case.

On February 13, the judge had reserved his verdict after the state prosecutor and the defence counsel advanced their final arguments in the case.

Earlier, the accused men had denied the charges and claimed their innocence in the case.

According to the prosecution, the attack was carried out at the behest of the then TTP leadership and the suicide bomber was identified as Naeemullah, a resident of Pirabad and student of a local seminary who had lived in Afghanistan for many years.

In February 2017, the court had indicted the accused after the investigating officer filed a final investigation report, formally charging them with committing the alleged offence.

In the investigation report, the IO had also shown then TTP chief Fazlullah as absconder in the case, leading to the court declaring him a proclaimed offender.