KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Monday sentenced the prayer leader of a mosque located on Superhighway to over 25 years in prison for raising funds for the outlawed Jamaatud Dawa (JuD).
The court also ordered the provincial education department to take over and forfeit the mosque/seminary in Malir used by JuD for generating money to fund terrorist activities across the country.
On Monday, the ATC-XII judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced the verdict against prayer leader Ghulam Rasool Rabbani and imposed a fine of Rs2.2 million on him.
The judge ruled: “I also forfeit the Masjid/Madressah Baab-ul-Harmain Shareefain under the Section 11-Q(4) with directions to Administrator, Education Assets (Madaris and Schools), belonging to proscribed organization, Education & Literacy, Department, Government of Sindh, to takeover and complete forfeiture process in accordance with law.”
ATC asks education dept to take control of the mosque and seminary
The judge sent the accused Ghulam Rasool, who was produced in custody, to prison to serve out the sentence.
According to the prosecution, the Counter-Terrorism Department on Nov 11 initiated investigation against Rabbani, who belonged to the JuD and was involved in collecting funds for Madressah/Masjid Harmain Shareefain located in Jamali Goth along the Superhighway in Malir.
The prosecution alleged that such money was used for terrorist activities all over the country, financial assistance was provided to terrorists and such act fell within the ambit of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
In his statement recorded under Section 342 of the criminal procedure code, accused Rabbani denied the allegations levelled against him by the police, saying the case against him was a managed one and nothing was recovered from his possession.
He deposed that the mosque/seminary was not involved in any past or present activities related to any proscribed organisation, adding that he was unaware of the genuineness of the land’s documents, but he was the owner of the said plot, he was occupant and having possession of the said masjid/madressah since 2003.
The accused further deposed that prosecution witness Dr Ubaid-ur-Rehman did not want him to continue to serve the mosque and this case was the result of his opposition since he had already hurled threats to shut down the mosque/seminary.
The accused testified that he was residing in the mosque/seminary since 2003 and spent an unblemished life, adding that many of the area people offer prayer there five times, but no one had complained about any activity.
The accused said that Dr Rehman wanted to usurp the land in question. He denied having any no relation with the JuD or any proscribed organisation, adding that he had not arranged any programme for any proscribed group and never raised funds for them.
He asked the court to acquit him of the false allegations.
State prosecutors Tahir Hussain Mangi and Kamran contended that during investigation the wife of the accused told the investigating officer that the 1,700-square yards land of the mosque/seminary was the property of her husband Rabbani.
They added that on spy information the police had arrested the accused red-handed while collecting funds for the proscribed outfit with cash of Rs1,570 along with chanda receipts.
Man jailed for raising funds for Al Qaeda
In the meanwhile, the same court awarded a collective sentence of over 20 years in prison to Mohammad Shakirullah alias Mufti Shakir in a case pertaining to raising fund for Al Qaeda.
The judge also awarded a collective fine of Rs1.1m to the convict. On default, he would have to undergo an additional collective imprisonment of one year.
According to the prosecution, Shakirullah was an Al Qaeda member and had already been declared as a proclaimed offender by the court.
During investigation, an eyewitness, M. Kashif, disclosed that Shakirullah used to frequently travel from Karachi to Afghanistan and collected funds.
The state prosecutors argued that he was on the watch list of terrorism suspects in connection with three cases. He had reportedly gone underground due to fear of being arrested.
Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2020