The administrative judge of an anti-terrorism court sent on Monday Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) Chairperson Sanan Qureshi and 25 others accused of vandalism during the recent protest against Bahria Town Karachi (BTK) to jail on judicial remand.
Qureshi, other JSQM leaders, namely, Amjad Khan Mahesar, Asif Raza Magsi, Deedar Sham, Ashraf Kalhoro, Ilahi Bux Bikak and 19 others were produced before the court.
The defence counsel, Naeem Qureshi, informed the court that a total of 25 cases have been lodged against the accused. "I was present during the protest against BTK [on July 6, 2021], all cases are baseless," he contended.
Naeem's colleague, advocate Muhammad Khan Shaikh, prayed the court to not grant further physical remand of the accused to the police.
Read more: ATC remands two over abduction, rape
Accepting his request and dismissing the police's plea for further physical remand, the court sent the Qureshi and others to Landhi jail on judicial remand.
However, the court granted the police two-day physical remand of Bikak and five others.
Speaking to the media after the hearing, the JSQM chairperson said that the Sindh Action Committee had held a peaceful protest against BTK. "We condemn the government crackdown against our workers," he said.
On July 6, an alliance of nationalist political parties and various civil society groups had convened under the banner of the Sindh Action Committee to protest the alleged land grabbing by BTK.
During the protest, some miscreants barged inside the gates of the mega housing society and damaged some private and commercial properties. The police resorted to using tear gas to disperse the protest and arrested a large number of protestors.
Leaders and members of the Sindh Action Committee, including Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah, Syed Zain Shah, Dr Qadir Magsi, Riaz Chandio and Ayaz Latif Palijo, have issued statements condemning the violence and vandalism. They maintain they had nothing to do with the incidents of arson and vandalism that occurred during the protest.
Abduction, murder case
Meanwhile, an ATC meted out double death sentences to two men convicted of abducting and murdering a minor boy.
Qari Abdul Majeed and Qari Ahsan were convicted of abducting and murdering Abdul Moiz, 15, in 2016.
Finding the two men guilty, the court awarded a double sentence to each of the convicts and also ordered the confiscation of their properties.
The victim's father had maintained that Moiz left his house on June 26, 2016 and went missing. The convicts had demanded Rs700,000 ransom amount and Rs400,000 was paid to them, he said, adding that his son, however, was not returned to him.
According to assistant prosecutor, Iqbal Mayo, the convicts had decapitated and mutilated the deceased's body before dumping it into a nullah.
The case against them was lodged at Brigade Police Station.
Another ATC awarded 80 years of imprisonment and a penalty of Rs400,000 to a man convicted of murdering a policeman during a robbery.
The convict, Kausar alias Munna, was found guilty of the charges levelled against him - murder, terrorism and police encounter in Surjani Town.
According to the prosecution, the police encounter took place near Kaneez Fatima Society in May 2020. A suspect, Faisal, and a policeman, Mehboob, were killed in the shootout.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15h, 2021.
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