KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court rejected once again bail applications filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) leader Anis Kaimkhani in a terror facilitation case involving former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain.
The ATC-II upheld on Wednesday its previous decision to dismiss the bail pleas of MQM MPA Siddiqui and PSP president Kaimkhani on grounds that there were sufficient evidences on record against them.
The two politicians along with other suspects — mayoral candidate Wasim Akhtar and Saleem Shahzad of MQM, Qadir Patel of Pakistan Peoples Party and Usman Moazzam of socio-political group Pasban — have been accused of asking favours from Dr Asim, who runs Ziauddin Hospitals. They asked him to treat terrorists injured in clashes, or otherwise, at his private health facilities while screening them off from law enforcers, the case stated.
All the accused are in jail except Shahzad, who operated from London, and has been on the run since the beginning. The ATC-II judge also issued non-bailable warrants for Shahzad and asked the investigation officer, DSP Altaf Hussain, to complete the process of declaring him a proclaimed offender after confiscating his properties.
The media was barred from attending Wednesday's hearing as the judge directed the court staffers and guards to not allow any of them to enter the premises — despite the case was never notified as an in-camera trial. However, in the afternoon, according to the sources after the intervention of higher judicial authorities, the media was allowed to enter the ATC complex but not to courtroom II.
In the judgment, available with The Express Tribune, the ATC-II judge referred to the statement, under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), of Dr Yusuf Sattar of Ziauddin Hospitals, the treatment history, referrals, bills and criminal records of the alleged terrorists provided medical assistance at the private health facility as well as the contentions made in the joint investigation team's report. Over the maintainability of the JIT report as evidence, the judge referred to a decision of the Lahore High Court in which the bench had relied upon a JIT and other evidence and had found the accused involved.
In the concluding paragraph of the verdict, the judge remarked that, "So far there is sufficient material available on record to connect the accused with the commission of crime therefore I do not feel that any case of bail has been made out therefore I reject the bail application (sic)."
Meanwhile, the court also allowed B-class (better facilities) to Patel in jail. The hearing has been adjourned till August 20. For the next hearing, DSP Hussain has been asked to submit report under Section 88 of the CrPC for absconding suspect Shahzad. The case is nearing to the indictment phase.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2016.
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