'Arms supplier' granted protective bail in Safoora Goth carnage

Petitioner wants bail to surrender before the trial court


Naeem Sahoutara April 18, 2017
As many as 45 men and women belonging to the Ismaili community were killed in the deadly attack on this bus in Safoora Goth on May 13. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) granted on Thursday protective bail to a private arms and ammunitions' company owner nominated in the Islamic State (IS)-inspired attack on the Ismaili community in Safoora Goth.

Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar granted bail to Zahid Abdul Kadir for one week against a surety of Rs100,000.

An IS-inspired group of youths had shot dead around 45 members of the Ismaili community in 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, were sentenced to death by a military court.

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The Sacchal police had booked 10 or 11 unknown persons in FIR 195/2015 under Sections 302, 324, 427, 109 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The suspect's lawyer, Amir Mansoob Qureshi, said initially the FIR was lodged against some other persons but on the orders of the high-ups the investigation was transferred from Inspector Abdul Hameed Gabol to DSP Muhammad Khalid Khan, who filed an interim charge-sheet to the ATC on August 8, 2015.

He argued that the applicant is innocent but the FIR had been registered in connivance with some police officials. He contended that admittedly the applicant's name did not appear either in the contents of the FIR or the interim charge-sheet. However, the same was included in the final charge-sheet by the investigation officer with mala fide intentions and ulterior motives.

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He said after submission of the charge-sheets, the ATC had taken cognisance and proceeded with the trial but the case record was transferred to the military court, which convicted nine suspects and acquitted three.

Advocate Qureshi said the case against the remaining suspects was remanded back to the ATC by the military court and the investigation officer was now raiding the petitioner's house, accusing that the weapons used in the offence were bought from his arms and ammunition shop. There is an apprehension that if arrested, the applicant will be humiliated by the IO or other officials.

Therefore, he pleaded to the court to grant protective bail to the applicant to enable him surrender to before the trial court concerned.

While disposing of the bail application, Justice Gorar granted protective bail to the applicant for one week in the sum of Rs100,000 to surrender before the trial court.

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