The authorities have charged two alleged terrorists Abdul Razzak also known as Omer and his accomplice Rashid Iqbal alias Basit under section 122 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). They claim that this is the first time terrorists have been charged under the anti-state section.
Section 122 of the PPC states that whoever collects arms with the intention of waging a war against Pakistan will be punished with imprisonment for life or a term not exceeding ten years and should also be liable to a fine. Since the formation of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan by Baitullah Mehsud in 2007, more than a hundred Taliban members have been arrested from the city but none of them have been charged because the authorities were unable to gather solid evidence against them.
The alleged terrorists are in their early thirties and had links with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Punjab chapter. They were arrested by the Crime Investigation Department’s (CID) Anti-Extremism Cell on June 12 in a raid on Frontier Colony.
The authorities claim to have seized a massive supply of arms and ammunition, including 20 kilogrammes of explosives and hand grenades. The men were accused of sending young people to Waziristan for training and preparing them for suicide bombings and sectarian killings.
The authorities claim that in 2010 they were about to file a similar case under section 122 of the penal code, regarding a young man who had been brainwashed. “In 2010 the terrorists had brainwashed a young man and had wanted to take him with them but were unable to,” said SSP Chaudhry Aslam Khan.
In 2009 the men had prepared six young men for the sole purpose of blowing themselves up. “They took the boys to Waziristan where four of them were killed in a drone attack and two, Waqar Ahmed and Arshad Khan, were injured and taken into police custody.” The SSP added that previously the authorities had imposed sections related to seizing weapons or murders. “The drone attack survivors were presented before a judicial magistrate under section 164 of the penal code and confessed to what had happened to them,” he said. “The terrorists also confessed before a judicial magistrate.” The SSP added that Omer and Basit’s charge sheet was submitted to an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) and an FIR (No 285/11) under section 121-C of ATC 1908 and section 122 of the penal code. “It is nothing short of a miracle to think that now we can charge the terrorists against anti-state elements with evidence,” said the SSP.
A criminal law professor, Iqbal Shah Advocate, told The Express Tribune that according to the law, intentions had no significance. He added that in this case, the authorities should prove that the terrorists took the young men to Waziristan and trained them as suicide bombers.
“In most cases the terrorists confess in front of the authorities but refuse to do so in court and so it is necessary to record their statement under section 164 of the penal code in front of a magistrate,” said the advocate.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2011.
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