KARACHI: Four workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement are standing trial for their alleged role in an episode of violence in Gulistan-e-Jauhar earlier this year.
According to a witness testimony and other documents filed in court, the workers are accused of causing a restaurant employee’s death and injuring a Rangers officer after they opened fire on them.
Two witnesses told the Anti-Terrorism Court I on Thursday that they were unable to identify the suspects because they were unable to see who was firing the shots. The suspects in the case are Arshad alias Arshoo, Saba Haider, Mohammed Shiraz Ashraf and Mohammed Zeeshan Habib Jaffery.
One of the witnesses belonged to the family which was running the restaurant in Gulistan-e-Jauhar’s Block 18, where the incident took place. He told the court that they were leaving the restaurant when the firing began and an employee was shot. The injured was taken to the Darul Sehat hospital but succumbed to his injuries the next day.
The second witness was a Ranger who was on patrol with three other officers on the night on the incident, March 29, 2012.
“It was around 2:30 am when we heard reports of firing coming from the MQM sector office at Perfume Chowk,” he told the court. “They shot directly at us and one of the Rangers personnel was injured in the leg.”
When asked if he could identify any of the accused, he replied, “How could we see when they were firing from the third floor.”
The officer was then told to leave but he kept going with his ‘testimony’ as he left. “It was over extortion. They wanted more money and that’s why they were firing.”
One of the defence lawyers, Salman Mujahid, told The Express Tribune that the FIR filed at the Shahrae Faisal police station did not name any individuals. “The Rangers picked up these men on the road and handed them over to the police,” said the lawyer. “They have been falsely implicated in the case.”
One of the suspects, who confirmed he was a member of the MQM, said “Our crime is only that we are political workers.”
Mujahid said that no one has been able to identify the suspects. “Of the seven witnesses, two have backed out. Four private witnesses and one Rangers officer have not been able to identify the men.”
The court will next hear the case on October 4. The men have been charged under sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 read with sections of the Pakistan Penal Code that cover offences for murder, attempted murder and common intent.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2012.