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KARACHI, April 6: An anti-terrorism court has acquitted a man in the 2001 Jamia Farooqia killing case and ordered legal action against a police officer who arrested and framed him with a fake identity.

The man, Syed Shuja Hussain Zaidi, was arrested in 2009 and the police showed him as an absconding accused, Rashid son of Kalu Chacha, who was allegedly involved in the January 2001 killing of five men, including three religious scholars, of Madressa Jamia Farooqia and was handed down death sentence in absentia.

Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of the ATC-III, who conducted the trial, held Sub-Inspector Syed Mohammad Atif accountable for detaining the accused and implicating him in the present case in place of Rashid son of Kalu Chacha, who also had a bounty on his head, with a fake identity.

The court directed the provincial police officer to take legal action against the police officer in question and submit a compliance report.

The judge in his verdict observed that the prosecution had examined 11 witnesses but none of them had identified the present accused as Rashid son of Kalu Chacha during the trial and they also not pointed out anything in their evidence about the presence of the accused at the scene of crime at the time of the offence.

It added that all of them had unburdened him from the commissioning of the instant crime and this fact alone spoke about the wrong identity of the present accused.

“Despite my best efforts I have failed to understand that from which material the said police official verified/certified that the present accused is same Rashid s/o Kalu Chacha who has been shown absconder in the charge-sheet of the instant crime and convicted in his absentia by the then anti-terrorism court-IV Karachi,” the judge observed.

In order to disprove the allegations leveled against him, the accused had produced the attested copies of the national identity card, a report lodged at the SITE (Hyderabad) police station, a set of academic certificates, form-B and Nikahnama in the name Syed Shuja Hussain son of Syed Hamid Hussain Zaidi. None of the documents indicated that he was also called as Rashid alias Hasan Mota alias Ali Hasan alias Mota Asad, the court held.

The prosecution had failed to establish on record that the present accused was the same Rashid who alleged to have participated in the subject crime hence the court found no alternate except to acquit him, it concluded.

According to the prosecution, Maulana Inayatullah, Maulana Hameed Rehman, Mufti Mohammad Iqbal, seminary student Hafiz Talha and driver Abdul Hameed were gunned down while five others, including a policeman, were wounded on Jan 28, 2001during an attack on their van when the were heading to the Madressa Jamia Farooqia.

An anti-terrorism court had sentenced Syed Qaiser, Syed Saim Ali, Syed Ali Raza alias Ali and Kazim Zaidi to death while Rashid also got capital punishment in absentia in June 2001. However, the Sindh High Court set aside the conviction in June 2002 and later the state challenged the SHC verdict in Supreme Court.

The present accused had approached the high court after his arrest in 2009. The SHC allowed him to move an application before the trial court for a retrial and set aside the conviction. The ATC had allowed the plea and conducted a fresh trial.

A case (FIR 11/2001) was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 324 (attempted murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.