Alleged al Qaeda member Major Haroon, accused of murder and kidnapping for ransom, may be released soon after most witnesses and complainants withdrew their testimonies.
Major Haroon quit the army in 2002 against what he called pro-American policies of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. He then allegedly joined al Qaeda.
Fearing his release, the Sindh Home Department sent a letter to the home department of Punjab requesting that Haroon be transferred from Punjab to Sindh. Haroon is also accused of being involved in the kidnapping case of prominent businessman Satish Anand.
Haroon, along with two other co-accused, is presently imprisoned in Kot Lakhpat jail on charges of killing an administrator of Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Dr Abdul-Saboor Malik, in Lahore.
The men are being tried by the additional and sessions judge inside the prison because of the sensitivity of the matter, police and prosecution department’s sources told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.
Before being shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail, the three men were in Adiala Jail for their alleged involvement in the murders of Major General (retd) Ameer Faisal Alvi, his driver and a passer-by in 2008.
Sources familiar with the high-profile murders said armed men wanted to kidnap Dr Saboor for ransom and they killed him when he resisted. Similarly, Alvi was also gunned down by men who intercepted him for kidnapping.
The investigations of Saboor’s murder case reveal that the accused had been tasked to kidnap affluent people as al Qaeda was in dire need of money, sources added.
During a briefing in the Sindh Assembly last week on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had confirmed Haroon’s contacts with al Qaeda.
In the initial stages of the investigation, Lahore police had registered a case against the accused on charges of kidnapping for ransom and murder of Saboor under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and some sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). However, the Lahore High Court later ordered that the ATA section be deleted. The court directed the investigation officer to investigate the case under the PPC and to submit a charge sheet before a lower court.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2012.
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