Former MPA Aslam Madhyana and seven others were on Thursday indicted for aggravated assault on a school teacher in Sargodha.
All eight suspects – including Tariq, Gul Muhammad, Iftikhar Khan, Khurram, Jamshed, and Madhyana’s son-in-law Nadeem Sarwar Madhyana – denied the charges.
Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Muhammad Anwar Nazar rejected Madhyana’s request for removal of Anti-Terrorism Act provisions from the FIR registered in the case.
Madhyana’s counsel Ameer Abdullah Rokhri earlier requested the court that inclusion of ATA sections was not justified by facts of the case and the statements of witnesses. He said the case involved personal enmity. There was no evidence for the claim that the incident caused terror or panic among the general public. He cited some observations by the Supreme Court on which cases rightfully fall under the ATA.
The counsel also objected to the inclusion of shooting charges in the FIR. He said the doctors examining the complainant had found no bullet injury.
Nafees Khan’s counsel Shahid Nazeer Khan referred to the statements of 12 witnesses quoted in the FIR and said that the incident was followed by closure of businesses in the area. He said people of the area were reported to have suspended commercial activities and gone home. The counsel said Madhyana already faced three cases in which he was charged with terrorism.
Responding to Madhyana’s counsel’s claim that Nafees Khan was not an Education Department employee, Advocate Nazeer Khan produced an Education Department certificate to substantiate Nafees Khan’s appointment as a school teacher in the district. Madhyana’s counsel had stated that Khan’s wife and not he himself was a school teacher.
A five-member panel of doctors headed by the executive district officer (Health) also appeared before the court on Thursday. The panel informed the court about the findings of the first medical examination of the complainant.
The judge told the complainant’s counsel to produce his witnesses at the next hearing and adjourned the session till Saturday.
Of the 13 witnesses mentioned by the complainant in the FIR, three would appear before the court on Saturday and record their statements. They are Nafees Khan’s brother Idrees Khan, son Khurram Khan and one Akram.
Talking to the media after the hearing, Madhyana’s counsel said he would challenge the court’s decision on the ATA sections before the Lahore High Court.
Nafees Khan’s counsel Shahid Nazeer Khan said the provincial government should take notice of the protocol Madhyana was getting in the district jail. He claimed that the suspect was being kept in a B-Class cell, and that he was allowed use of cell phone.
Five of the suspects in the matter have yet to be arrested. They include Mansab, Muhammad Ali, Nazer Ahmed and Muzaffar.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2012.