KARACHI: The tale of an alleged case of extortion played out in Anti-Terrorism Court I on Friday, as Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso heard the defence counsel explain why his client should be released on bail.
According to lawyer Abdul Razzaq, his client Ghulam Mustafa Khushk has been wrongly implicated in a case (FIR 265/2012) of extortion, under section 386 of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The details of the case that emerged from police documents provided an insight into how extortion complaints and cases develop. According to Razzaq, the complainant – an Abdul Fatah Shaikh – is an employee of Suparco. He received a text message on his cell phone on April 10, 2012 that stated that the sender called ‘Ainullah’ was “from the Taliban” and wanted Rs10,000 to be sent to him via a phone credit transfer between 5 and 8 pm, otherwise, “anything could happen to his wife, daughter or his family.” He also sent Shaikh a National Identity Card (NIC) number, needed for the transaction to go through.
The complainant had alleged that he received another message stating that he had “an hour left” to send him the money.
Abdul Fatah Shaikh apparently told his department, who ‘investigated’ the case by pulling up the call records and informed the police station of the person whose name the SIM appeared to be registered on. The police discovered and arrested the person involved at a restaurant on University Road.
However, Khushk’s lawyer claimed that his client was not the man who the SIM had been registered on, which the prosecutor disputed. He also said the police’s act of arrest was wrong because they did no investigation and relied on whatever Suparco had told them – which did not have any legal jurisdiction to investigate this case, and any evidence they may have given should be treated as hearsay. He also alleged that the case was investigated by an ASI of the police, which was illegal. The prosecutor refuted the charge.
The prosecutor for ATC-I said that a copy of the NIC – with the same number and name – listed in the alleged extortionist’s message had been found on Khushk when he was arrested. Khushk’s lawyer, on the other hand, claimed that his client was innocent and may have been implicated by someone who had an ‘enmity’ with him in Suparco. The prosecutor said that there was no proof of any grudges or criminal or civil litigation in this regard.
The judge will next hear the case on May 30.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2012.