Acquitted men’s detention: Magistrate, jail, FIA officials put on notice

Petition filed challenging their detention by intelligence agencies despite their acquittal in terrorism cases

Obaid Abbasi August 25, 2011


The Islamabad High Court (IHC) put a magistrate, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and jail officials on notice on Wednesday on a petition filed by two men challenging their detention by intelligence agencies despite their acquittal in terrorism cases.

Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan issued notices to the a district magistrate, FIA Deputy Director Muhammad Salahuddin and Adiala Jail Superintendent Mohsin Rafiq directing them to appear before the court on August 26 on a habeas corpus petition filed by Qari Muhammad Ilyas, a resident of Chakwal District, and Muhammad Rizwan, a resident of Karachi, challenging their detention.  An Anti-Terrorism Court judge acquitted them of charges of attacking army’s surgeon-general Lieutenant-General Mushtaq Baig, the Danish embassy, and the Melody Market blast.

The RA Bazaar Police had registered a case against them and seven others in connection with three suicide attacks in 2008. Police arrested them from Dhoke Lakhan on January 29, 2009 and recovered explosives detonators and grenades from their possession. They were charged of killing Gen Baig on February 25, six people in an attack on the Danish embassy on June 2, and 15 police men were killed in a suicide attack at Melody Market during the first anniversary of the military operation against Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in July.

The petitioners counsel informed the court that ATC Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan had acquitted them on September 25, 2010.

He further contended that on April 12, the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench also set aside their detention order, but they were still being illegally detained in jail.

He told the court that the petitioners have been behind bars for three years and their acquittal indicated that they were innocent and were wrongly implicated in the terrorism cases.

The counsel argued the IHC Chief Justice had ordered release of the other seven accused in June 2011, but the two petitioners were still detained in Adiala jail.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2011.