PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court on Wednesday indicted three men, including a juvenile person, over the killing of an under-trial blasphemy accused inside a courtroom at the Peshawar Judicial Complex.

The accused, including the suspected teenage killer, junior lawyer Tufail Zia and cleric Wasiullah, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Judge Tariq Yousafzai framed a separate charge against the suspected killer in his capacity as special judge of the juvenile court.

Conducting trial inside the Peshawar Central Prison, he fixed Oct 21 for the next hearing asking the prosecution witnesses to appear before him on the day.

Asks prosecution witnesses to show up on Oct 21

The prime accused was indicted on three counts. The major charge was the Qatl-i-Ammad (intentional murder) of handcuffed under-trial prisoner Tahir Ahmad Naseem in a courtroom on Jul 29, an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.He was also charged under Section 15 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Arms Act, 2013, for possessing a pistol, which he used for the murder.

The other accused, including Tufail Zia and Wasiullah, were also indicted under sections 302 and 109 of PPC and Section 7 of ATA.

Tufail Zia was indicted for abetting the prime accused by providing him with the pistol, while Wasiullah was charged with providing the pistol to Tufail Zia for handing it over to the teenage killer.

The juvenile accused was held soon after the murder of Tahir Ahmad Nasim, a US citizen, at the Judicial Complex on Jul 29. lawyer Tufail Zia was also arrested on the charge of taking the pistol inside the Judicial Complex before handing it over to the suspected killer of the blasphemy accused.

Cleric Wasiullah was taken into custody by the police after his pre-arrest bail was rejected by an anti-terrorism court on Sept 15.

Wasiullah, a resident of Sufaid Dehri area, had also confessed to the offence before a judicial magistrate on Sept 18 declaring the three accused had planned the murder of blasphemy accused Tahir Naseem in the office of Tufail Zia a month before executing the plan.

He had claimed that the accused had got the pistol made by a gunsmith on the payment of Rs17,000, while Tufail was tasked with taking it inside the Judicial Complex for the murder.

The cleric had also said on the day of the murder, Tufail took the pistol inside the building and handed it over to the suspected teenage killer inside a washroom, who killed Tahir Ahmad Naseem inside the courtroom.

Suspect Tufail Zia was also a junior lawyer representing complainant Malik Owais in the trial of deceased Tahir Ahmad Nasim. The complainant is a resident of Nowshera and studies in an Islamabad seminary.

A case was registered against the deceased here at the Sarband police station on Apr 25, 2018, under the Pakistan Penal Code sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295-A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class), 295-B (defiling Holy Quran), 295-C (derogatory remarks in respect of Holy Prophet) and 298 (uttering words to wound religious feelings).

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2020



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