PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa counter terrorism department has charged former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mohmand with financing terrorism by including his name in a case registered last year against some officials of an international non-governmental organisation.

An anti-terrorism court, which is already trying five of the accused in the case, issued notice to Mr Mohmand on Tuesday informing him that he was charged with financing terrorism, which was a cognisable and non-bailable offence.

It directed him to surrender before it or obtain bail from any competent court of law within seven days.

The official sources said after getting the court’s notice, Mr Mohmand, who was also a former chief secretary of the province, appeared before it and submitted two surety bonds of Rs300,000 each on the court’s orders.

ATC judge Tariq Yousafzai fixed Mar 4 for the next hearing into the case asking Mr Mohmand to appear before it on all hearings.

Rustam Shah submits surety bonds to ATC

Sahibzada Riazatul Haq, counsel for Mr Mohmand and other accused in the case, told Dawn that it was a baseless case and the CTD had so far not produced a single evidence to connect his clients with any of the terrorist outfits.

He said the prosecution had failed to bring on record any evidence about how the funds were diverted to terrorists, which was the main charge in the case.

In July 2019, the CTD had arrested regional director of INGO Human Concern International Ali Nawaz on the terror financing charge.

He was released on bail afterward.

An FIR was registered at the CTD police station on July 4, 2019, with inspector Ilyas Khan being the complainant.

The complainant had accused some staff and board members of the NGO, including Ali Nawaz, Mohammad Farooq Awan, Shah Room and Mohammad Naeem.

The CTD had claimed that it had acted on information provided by FIA.

It added that the accused had diverted funds meant for charity work to terrorist outfits.

The case was registered under Section 11-N of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, which deals with the financing of terrorist organisations. However, sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010, and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Pakistan Penal Code were included in it.

The CTD claimed that millions of rupees had been transacted from 11 bank accounts of the charity, while the accused failed to provide satisfactory answers regarding those funds.

While submitting the challan of the case to the court lately, the CTD also included the name of Mr Mohmand at Serial No 6 in the list of the accused.

The court sought comments from district public prosecutor and concerned public prosecutor who gave opinion that the role assigned to Mr Mohmand in the ‘offence’ was at par with the role attributed to other accused persons who had already been facing trial.

Subsequently, the court summoned Mr Mohmand, who had remained associated with the said NGO, to face trial on Feb 25.

The court will indict him for the offence later.

Following the registration of the FIR, NGO Human Concern International had refuted the allegations and had said the finance manager concerned had provided all the relevant information to the investigation officer in the case.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2020