An anti-terrorism court on Monday formally indicted Afaq Ahmed, chairman of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM-Haqiqi) in an alleged case of detaining an officer of Karachi Development Authority at his party’s headquarters, Baitul Hazma, in 2001.
Afaq Ahmed was produced before Judge Khalida Yasin in the court room inside Central Prison who read out the charge sheet. The accused denied the charge after which the Court ordered Special Public Prosecutor, Muzaffar Hussain Solangi, to produce all prosecution witnesses on Jan 12, 2012.
According to the prosecution, on May 5, 2001, three unidentified young boys allegedly whisked away Jamil Ahmed Baloch, an engineer of the defunct Karachi Development Authority. Jamil was detained at Baitul Hamza and was freed after the Rangers negotiated his release with MQM-H leadership.
A complaint was lodged with police by another official Sheikh Abdullah. The accused was booked under section 348, 337-A, 34 the Pakistan Penal Code and after investigations, the name of Afaq Ahmed was placed in column 2 (no credible evidence found).
Police arrested a number of MQM-H workers including Athar Usmani, Jamil Ahmed, and Zafar besides Shehzad Bihari, Bubli and Salman Younus.
Athar Usmani, Jamil and Zafar were convicted and sentenced while the remaining three were acquitted on November 8, 2001. The case against Afaq was kept on dormant file and surfaced only recently after Afaq was admitted to bail in all the six cases pending trial in courts.
Afaq has already been admitted to bail in this last case too as the trial court (ATC-II) held in its bail order that it was simply a case of detaining a person against his will and even if proved and convicted, the maximum punishment is three years. Afaq is behind bars since April 2004.
Afaq indictment, however, came just a day before his two petitions, one seeking contempt proceedings against police officials for filing a wrong statement in respect of a case against him and another against MQM leadership for a plan to kill him, were fixed for hearing before the Sindh High Court.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2011.