KARACHI, Oct 11: An anti-terrorism court on Thursday discharged 21 suspects in a couple of cases pertaining to violence during rallies taken out in protest against an anti-Islam film made in the United States since the police remained unable to collect any concrete evidence against them.
The suspects were among the 74 people said to be detained from the scene of crime by police during the rallies, but all of them were released because of poor investigation.
The Preedy and Nabi Bux police stations booked 13 and eight suspects respectively for allegedly torching a number of cinemas on and near M.A. Jinnah Road, rioting, attacking policemen and destroying public and private property during the Sept 21 rallies. Later, they were remanded in jail custody.
The police submitted reports in the court under Section 497 (2) of the criminal procedure code (CrPC) and stated that they could not collect any solid evidence against the suspects, adding that closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage had also not shown them committing the alleged offences.
Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of the ATC-III approved the reports of the investigating officers (IOs) and discharged the 21 suspects under Section 63 (discharged of person apprehended) of the CrPC.
The court directed the jail authorities to accept personal bonds from the suspects and release them.
Mohammad Younus, Sadiq, Raza, Nazeer, Nasir, Lal Bux, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Hussain, Barkat Ali, Nasarullah, Shamas Rehman, Akbar and Imtiaz were arrested by the Preedy police and Zaheer Ahmed, Mohammad Sajjad, Ghulam Yaseen, Qasiar Rehman, Rasheed-ul-Haq, Naseer-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yasir and Mohammad Sakir were held by the Nabi Bux police station.
Earlier in the day, investigating officers Shafiq Afridi and Ghulam Ali of the Preedy and the Nabi Bux police stations submitted charge-sheets to the office of a prosecutor against the suspects after getting approval from superior authorities.
However, during scrutiny, public prosecutor Abdul Maroof rejected the charge-sheets, saying that the collected evidence was insufficient to charge-sheet the suspects because eyewitnesses did not identify them while the CCTV footage also remained inconclusive.
He directed the IOs to submit reports under Section 497(2) of the CrPC.
The suspects were booked under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 324 (attempted murder), 353 (criminal assault to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage, etc) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.