Killer of suspected blasphemer withdraws bail plea from Peshawar ATC

Published August 18, 2020
A panel of lawyers appeared for the suspect and told the court that their client didn’t want to pursue the bail plea and was only interested in the early trial of the case. — AFP/File
A panel of lawyers appeared for the suspect and told the court that their client didn’t want to pursue the bail plea and was only interested in the early trial of the case. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: A teenage boy charged with killing a suspected blasphemer inside a courtroom last month withdrew his bail petition from an anti-terrorism court on Monday.

A panel of lawyers appeared for the suspect and told the court that their client didn’t want to pursue the bail plea and was only interested in an early trial of the case.

The court directed the prosecution to submit the final challan (charge sheet) of the case within 10 days to begin trial.

Few days ago, the bail petition was filed on behalf of the juvenile suspect on multiple grounds.

The 10-page petition mostly included verses of the Holy Quran and Hadith and said those who committed apostasy were liable to be killed.

Body of deceased sent to America

While the local police claim that the suspect is around 17, the petitioner said he was aged around 14 and a half years and that the entire investigation conducted in the case is a violation of mandatory provisions of the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018.

The blasphemy accused, Tahir Ahmad Naseem, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, was shot down inside a courtroom at the Judicial Complex here on July 29.

The petitioner is being kept in the Peshawar Central Prison on judicial remand.

The panel of lawyers for the suspect compromises Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, Mohammad Enam Yousafzai, Barrister Amirullah Khan, Qaiser Zaman Khan, Abdul Wali, Shakil Ahmadkhel and others.

The FIR of the killing was registered at the East Cantonment police station under Section 302 of Pakistan Penal Code, Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act, and Section 15 of Arms Act.

When the court began hearing the bail petition, the defence lawyers said they were interested in the early trial of their client.

They requested the court that instead of disposing of the bail petition, the court should direct the prosecution to produce the challan of the case at the earliest.

Meanwhile, official sources told Dawn that the body of the blasphemy accused was handed over to the US Consul General in Peshawar on Aug 14 and it was sent to the US next day.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued no objection certificate on Aug 6 for the repatriation of the body of Tahir Ahmad Naseem, who held the US Passport No 469546675, subject to the completion of all codal formalities.

Similarly, the interior ministry had issued an NOC declaring it has no objection to the transportation of the body of Tahir Ahmad Naseem to the US.

The deceased’s family members, including daughters based in Illinois, USA, had issued a general power of attorney on July 30 in favour of the US Consul General in Peshawar for the repatriation of the remains of the deceased.

A resident of Nowshera, Malik Owais, a student in a seminary at Islamabad, had alleged that the deceased made false religious claims and told him that he had been receiving Divine Revelations in dreams.

The deceased was indicted on Feb 4, 2019, under PPC sections 153-A, 295-A and 298. However, he had denied charges.

He was brought to the court from the Peshawar Central Prison before the suspected teenage gunman targeted him at point-blank range.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2020

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