The Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) in Swat acquitted the sons of Maulana Sufi Mohmmad, chief of the banned Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), in another case on Wednesday. Sufi’s three sons – Abdullah, Fazlullah and Abdur Rehman – were charged for involvement in a suicide attack on Mingora Police Station in January 2009.
The ATC acquitted the men after the police failed to present witnesses against them during the prosecution. The three men were earlier acquitted by the ATC in a different case due to insufficient proof. The men, however, are still in police custody under 48 more charges, trials of which are underway in the ATC.
The US State Department, in a report published in Septmber 2011, said that Pakistan was incapable of prosecuting terror suspects, since three in four defendants are acquitted.
The report said that while Pakistan maintained it was committed to prosecuting those accused of terrorism, its ATC rulings last year tell a different story, showing that Pakistan’s acquittal rate of prosecuting suspected terrorists was approximately 75%.
In recent years, courts have yet to issue a verdict on a terrorism case or have released many terror suspects for lack of evidence, including the controversial Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s leader Hafiz Muhammed Saeed.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2011.