The Sindh High Court Administrative Judge, Justice Maqbool Baqar, ordered for an alleged terrorist to be hospitalised and treated at Jinnah hospital after apparent third-degree torture.
Muntazir Imam, dubbed serial target killer by CID, was produced before the court Wednesday evening in the Administrative Judge (AJ) chambers for his alleged involvement in the target killing of Hafiz Manzoor Hussain who was gunned down in April last year. Imam’s arrest by the Crime Investigation Department was disclosed during a press conference by its Anti-Extremism Cell and the Counter Terrorism Unit on Sunday. Officials said that Imam confessed to the killings of 12 people including leaders of outlawed sectarian groups in eight separate cases across the city since 2009.
To a routine and mandatory query by the court, accused had submitted that he was brutally tortured by agencies from May 17 till May 27 this year. During the hearing when the AJ inquired about the torture, he showed the court the injuries on his legs, thighs, back and abdomen.
The CID, meanwhile, sought physical custody of the accused for 14 days. The AJ summoned the SHC doctor to examine the accused. The court’s doctor usually leaves around 2 pm and so he took 30 minutes to reach the chambers.
During this time, the CID men present started contacting their high-ups for ‘protection’ as they feared punitive action from the court if the torture allegation was proven, officials revealed. Right after the phone calls, the Sindh Prosecutor General called on the AJ in his chambers. The prosecutor general then went to the accused sitting in the courtroom, and then went to the Anti-Terrorism Court’s registrar office. There he discussed the case with the Special Public Prosecutor of the Anti-Terrorism Courts, Arshad Cheema. Meanwhile, the doctor also arrived and examined the accused. Officials said the CID had other investigation officers and a DSP police - known for his role in ‘Operation Cleanup’ of 1992 and presently posted at the FIA’s Banking Circle - come to the AJ to put in a good word for them.
The DSP, according to them, took the AJ into confidence about the accused being the head of a gang of terrorists.
However, the AJ refused the physical custody of Muntazir Imam to the CID and ordered that he be admitted to the Jinnah hospital amid security.
The judge also ordered that footage and photographs of the injuries be taken for record. He directed the Jinnah hospital’s medico-legal officer to examine the accused and submit a report. The hearing was adjourned for a week when the accused will be produced before the court after treatment.
During the initial interrogation, Imam had told CID investigators that he, along with his companions, killed many leaders and activists of their rival groups, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
The SSP leaders killed by the accused include Maulana Ghafoor Nadeem and his young son, Mavia, who were killed while on their way to court in Nazimabad on March 11, 2010, Shafi Alvi and Engineer Ilyas Zubair who were killed in Jamshed Quarter and Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Madni shot dead in New Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2011.