KARACHI: An antiterrorism court allowed on Friday an application seeking resumption of trial against banned Peoples Amn Committee chief Uzair Jan Baloch in a case pertaining to alleged killing of policemen during an operation in Lyari.
The alleged Lyari kingpin along with alleged gangsters — Amin Buledi; Ramzan, alias Ramzani; Abdul Ghaffar, alias Mama; and Zubair Baloch — has been booked in different criminal cases, including the killing of an SHO, and two cases of police encounters registered during the 2012 Lyari operation.
On Friday, when the matter came up before the antiterrorism court concerned, the investigating officer of the case lodged at the Kalakot police station moved an application.
He informed the court that the trial in the present case was stalled since the custody of the PAC chief was taken over by the Army Corps-V on April 11, 2017.
Trial to resume in policemen killing case
However, his custody was handed back to the prison in April this year, added the IO, requesting the judge to order resumption of the trial and direct the prison authorities to produce him before the court.
Allowing the application, the judge directed the prison chief to ensure production of Uzair before the court on the next date and adjourned the hearing.
Uzair, who is facing multiple cases, including the murder of rival gangster Arshad Pappu, was arrested under mysterious circumstances in January 2016.
He was held under 90-day preventive detention by Rangers, who later handed him over to police.
He is facing trial along with a PPP lawmaker from Lyari and some police officers in the triple murder case of Arshad Pappu, his brother Yasir Arafat and their confidant Juma Shera, who were killed in Lyari after being kidnapped in Defence in March 2013.
Statements recorded in sectarian killing case
An ATC on Friday recorded statements of two prosecution witnesses against alleged hitman Ishaq, alias Bobby, in the cases pertaining to sectarian killings.
Ishaq along with his absconding accomplice Asim, alias Capri — both said to be associated with the banned Laskhar-i-Jhangvi — is facing trial in around one-and-a-half dozen cases pertaining to targeted killings of polio workers, military and police personnel.
In April 2018, Ishaq was awarded death sentence by a military court for the murder of qawwali maestro Amjad Sabri.
On Friday, the ATC-XVI judge took up the two separate murder cases.
The cases pertained to murder of a doctor, Aziz, and a paan shop proprietor, Wazir Ali.
Both were allegedly killed on sectarian grounds in Korangi five years ago. The IO produced two witnesses to record their statements.
Later, the defence counsel for the accused cross-examined the witnesses.
After recording their testimonies and cross examination, the judge directed the IO to produce other witnesses on the next date and adjourned the hearing till June 11.
According to the prosecution, Aziz was killed at his clinic in Korangi on September 11, 2014.
In the second incident, victim Ali was killed at his paan shop in Korangi on January 24, 2015.
It further mentioned that Ishaq along with his two absconding accomplices allegedly carried out the murders.
Exemptions granted in terrorists’ harbouring case
An ATC on Friday granted exemption to Dr Asim Hussain, Qadir Patel and Wasim Akhtar from personal appearance in a case pertaining to alleged treatment and harbouring of suspected terrorists.
On Friday, the matter came up before the ATC-II judge.
Advocate Irshad Bandhani, defence counsel for Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, moved an application, submitting that the witnesses in the case were not appearing because of the spread of the coronavirus while his client could also not appear before the court for the same reason. He pleaded to exempt the applicant from appearance before the court till the next date.
The defence counsel for Dr Asim also moved an application, submitting that his client was working as a front-line soldier in his hospitals with regard to treatment of Covid-19 patients, therefore, he could not appear before the court and be exempted from appearing before the court till the next date.
A counsel for Qadir Patel also moved an application seeking his exemption from appearance before the court due to spread of the virus.
Special prosecutor Sajid Mehboob Shaikh also moved an application for exemption from appearance before the court citing spread of the virus.
The judge allowed applications and directed them to appear before the court on July 25.
Dr Asim, a close aide to former president Asif Ali Zardari, along with five others has been charged with treating and harbouring suspected terrorists, political militants and gangsters at the North Nazimabad and Clifton branches of his hospital at the behest of some politicians.
The others booked in the case include Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders Amir Khan, Wasim Akhtar and Rauf Siddiqui, Pak Sarzameen Party president Anis Kaimkhani, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Abdul Qadir Patel and Pasban leader Usman Moazzam.
A case was registered under the relevant sections at the North Nazimabad police station.
Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2020