Punjab police have failed to submit complete charge-sheets in 18 out of 27 high-profile terrorism cases before anti-terrorism courts even after a lapse of 13 years.
According to official documents obtained by The Express Tribune, the incidents of terrorism and sectarian violence occurred between June 21, 1998 and April 3 this year. The cases are still pending in 14 anti-terrorism courts across the province.
Incidents of terrorism have claimed lives of as many as 303 people, including more than 10 armymen, dozens of FIA officials, police officers and 82 Ahmadis in Punjab, according to documents. Official record showed that out of a total of 1,719 witnesses, only 238 were examined, while 32 witnesses withdrew their earlier testimonies.
Documents shed more light in an incident in which terrorists attacked the Jamaat-i-Ahmadi centre, Darul Zikr, located near Garhi Shahu in Lahore. Eight to 10 terrorists attacked the place of worship with sophisticated weapons and hand-grenades on May 28 last year, killing 52 Ahmadis. The official record does not mention even a single witness.
The police have arrested 97 of the accused in these cases. However, some of them have been acquitted or released on bail. More than 13 of the accused are still at large despite being declared proclaimed offenders by the courts, the official record showed.
Notable pending cases included the suicide attack on the GPO Chowk, attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team, suicide attacks on Rescue 15/ISI building and Ahmadi places of worship in Lahore, sectarian violence in Sheikhupura, terror attack in Gujranwala, assassination attempt on former president General Pervez Musharraf, assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and attack on ISI office in Multan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2011.