Updated Jun 27, 2018 10:35am

ATC hands down 10-year jail to Mehar Sattar, associate

Shafiq Butt

SAHIWAL: Anti-Terrorism Court Special Judge Muhammad Shabbir Hussain Awan on Tuesday handed down 10-year imprisonment and Rs200,000 fine each to Anjuman-i-Mazareen Punjab General Secretary Mehar Abdul Sattar and an Okara farms tenant, Abdul Ghafoor, in a case of firing on police during a vociferous protest.

Mr Sattar was earlier imprisoned on the basis of a case – FIR No 731/15 – the Okara Saddar police registered against him on Sept 3, 2015. He was charged under sections 324, 353, 167, 337 TP, 120/B, 186, 148, 149, 21/L of PPC and 7-ATA.

Saddar police SHO Mehar Ismail turned complainant in the case which led to the AMP leader being declared guilty of crimes under section 324 of PPC and 7-ATA. A total of 165 farmers were nominated in the FIR and police arrested 16 of them.

Police said Mehar Sattar led an AMP agitation and the protestors blocked the Lahore-Khanewal rail track and Lahore-Multan motorway near 34/14-L, Okara. During protest and a sit-in, police said, a clash took place between the Saddar police personnel and farms tenants as a result of which two policemen Asghar and Israrul Haq suffered injuries.

Other charges against Mr Sattar are that he, along with the other protesters, propagated hate material against the security institutions and he and his gunman opened fire on the police.

Mr Sattar, who has been spearheading a movement to get the tenants ownership of the land they had been tilling for ages, and many others were named in more than 30 cases various police stations of Okara registered during 2015-16. Among the cases is the charge of high treason and he was detained in Sahiwal’s Central Prison from where he was shifted to the new high-security prison.

Just two months before her death, rights champion Asma Jahangir, along with Advocate Abid Saqi and AWP head Farooq Tariq, visited Mr Sattar in the prison after seeking permission from the Ministry of Interior and questioned his detention.

Chaudhry Awais, the counsel for Mehar Sattar, told Dawn that 12 cases were registered against his client under anti-terrorism sections and he was acquitted in 11 of the cases and got bail in the last one. He said an appeal would be filed in the Lahore High Court against the ATC verdict.

Sources said Mr Sattar was shifted to the district prison of Okara after the court decision.

The ATC acquitted Noor Nabi, Muhammad Shafiq, Munir Ahmed, Muhammad Aslam, Tariq Mahmood, Samuel Masih, Muhammad Nadeem, Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Amin, Muhammad Sabir, Muhammad Fazil, Muhammad Hanif, Khushee Muhammad and Abdullah Tahir.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2018

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