LHC turns down Punjab's bail cancellation plea for Sri Lanka-team attack accused

Published: May 24, 2012
This screen capture from television footage of the attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009 in Lahore.

This screen capture from television footage of the attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009 in Lahore.

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court division bench on Thursday dismissed an appeal filed by the Punjab government which seeks to cancel bails granted to five accused involved in attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket team by a trial court.

The division bench comprising Justice Rauf Ahmad Sheikh and Justice Shahid Hameed Dar was hearing the matter.

The prosecution department of Punjab, in its appeal, had submitted that an anti-terrorism court had granted bails to the accused including Obaidullah, Obaidur Rehman alias Zubair, Mohsin Rasheed, Javed Anwar and Ibrahim Khalil, all of whom who had been nominated in an attack case on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009.

Commenting on the rejection of their application, the prosecution termed it an act of leniency towards alleged terrorists who had damaged the image of the country by attacking the Sri Lankan team, guests in the state. Indirectly, the attack contributed to losses to Pakistan which lost potential revenue and goodwill of hosting international cricket teams.

The prosecution had contended that terrorists could not be given the relief of bail under law, especially given the situation prevailing in the country.  The petition stated that bail extended to the accused would send a wrong message to the cricket team which had been subjected to the attack, and to the world at large.

However, the bench after hearing arguments of both the parties dismissed the appeals.

The Sri Lankan cricket team came under concerted attack on March 3,2009, when their bus was transporting them to Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium. Part of a larger convoy, it was fired at with AK-47 rifles, rockets and hand grenades by 12 gunmen, near Liberty Square. At least six people, including police officials lost their lives and six others were injured, including Sri Lankan cricket players.

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