Outlawed TTP assassinated Perween Rahman at land grabber’s behest, ATC told

Published September 2, 2021
This image shows renowned social worker Perween Rahman. ─ Photo courtesy: YouTube screenshot
This image shows renowned social worker Perween Rahman. ─ Photo courtesy: YouTube screenshot

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court was told on Wednesday that prime accused Abdul Raheem Swati, an alleged land grabber, had planned the 2013 murder of renowned social worker Perween Rahman with the help of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) over a dispute involving a piece of land in Pirabad.

Besides the prime accused Swati, his son Mohammad Imran Swati and three co-accused — Ayaz Shamzai, Amjad Hussain Khan and Ahmed Khan aka Ahmed Ali aka Pappu Kashmiri — have been charged with the high-profile murder of the 55-year-old activist.

On Wednesday, the matter was taken up by the ATC-VII judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, for recording final arguments from the counsel of complainant Aquila Ismail.

Her counsel, Advocate Faisal Siddiqui, submitted that the prime accused Swati had purportedly got recorded his confessional statement before the then SSP Akhtar Farooqui, under Section 21-H of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.

Defence counsel to rebut complainant’s attorney’s arguments on 6th

According to his confession, he disclosed that local leaders of the Awami National Party (ANP) had allegedly hired Taliban militants to kill Ms Rahman.

The confessional statement added that Shamzai and Swati, said to be the local leaders of the ANP, were living near the Orangi Pilot Project office and tried to obtain an area to build a karate centre, but Ms Rahman had refused to allow it, the counsel added.

Advocate Siddiqui said that all the accused persons were present in a meeting held in January 2013 at Swati’s residence in which they planned the murder, adding that they hired local ‘commanders’ of the outlawed TTP, Moosa and Mehfoozullah aka Bhaloo, for the murder.

The counsel said that in an interview to a foreign radio service two years before her murder, Ms Rahman had called Raheem Swati a “land grabber and extortionist” and stated that the latter wanted to illegally occupy the land of the OPP’s office.

He argued that Ms Rahman’s interview corroborated the confessional statement of accused Swati.

Secondly, the counsel claimed that such a confessional statement of the key accused before a police officer was a legally admissible piece of evidence equal to a confessional statement recorded before a judicial magistrate.

To support his argument, the counsel cited rulings of the Supreme Court on the point of legality of the confessional statement of an accused before the district police officer in lieu of a judicial magistrate subject to the circumstances.

Concluding his argument, Advocate Siddiqui said Swati had also confessed that after the murder he had absconded to Swat to avoid his arrest, but he was tracked down and arrested by the police.

After recording his arguments, the judge fixed the matter for Sept 6 to hear final arguments from the counsel for Raheem Swati and Imran Swati.

Defence counsel for co-accused Hussain and Ayaz said they would submit citation on the point in writing on the next hearing.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2021

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