Safoora Goth attack: Family seeks release of alleged facilitators

SHC takes up plea by family of two brothers in army’s custody on Monday

Our Correspondent August 27, 2016
At least 45 members of the Ismaili community were killed in the May 2015 attack. in Safoora Goth. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The family of two brothers, whose involvement in facilitating the perpetrators of the Safoora Goth carnage is said to have not been established during trial by a military court, has approached the Sindh High Court (SHC) to seek their release from army custody.

A two-judge bench is scheduled to take up the plea for hearing on Monday. The former deputy-director of the Fishermen Cooperative Society, Sultan Qamar Siddiqui, and his younger brother, Muhammad Hussain Siddiqui, were arrested on allegations of facilitating the Islamic State-inspired group of youths who had shot dead around 45 members of the Ismaili community on the outskirts of Karachi in May 2015.

Five accused, including Saad Aziz alias Tin Tin, Tahir Hussain Minhas alias Sain, Asadur Rehman alias Malik and Mohammad Azhar Ishrat alias Majid, have been sentenced to death by a military court. Hira Siddiqui had moved an application seeking the release of her husband, Sultan, and brother-in-law, who were handed over to the army following transfer of their trial from the anti-terrorism court to the military court setup under the 21st Amendment.

Earlier, families of the Siddiqui brothers and another suspect, Naeem Sajid, had challenged the shifting of trial to the military court, arguing that legal requirements had not been complied with by the federal and provincial authorities while transferring the trial.

A two-judge SHC bench had, however, dismissed their pleas, maintaining that the interior ministry, Sindh home ministry and other relevant authorities had fulfilled legal formalities in this regard. The bench had further ruled that the three suspects could be tried by the military court.

The Siddiqui brothers' family moved a miscellaneous application recently, informing that it had come to their knowledge that two men had been found to be not involved in facilitating the executioners of the Safoora Goth carnage.

In the application, it is stated that earlier the high court had ordered the relevant authorities to provide medical treatment to Sultan and Muhammad. It is stated that during the trial the allegations leveled against them could not be established, therefore, their detention did not make any sense.

The court has been pleaded to order the authorities to release the detainees, who are said to have been kept in inhumane living conditions and suffer from ailments.

The bench is expected to take up the plea for hearing on Monday (tomorrow).

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2016.


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