Power cut forces courts to pull out typewriters and reschedule hearings

Published: August 24, 2012
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At least one judge continued to hear cases despite not having any electricity in the courtroom. A staff member typed out the day’s cause list on a typewriter.

At least one judge continued to hear cases despite not having any electricity in the courtroom. A staff member typed out the day’s cause list on a typewriter.

KARACHI: The anti-terrorism courts already have an aura of gloom given the decisions they make on the earthly destinies of men with blood on their hands. But this bleak atmosphere weighed even more heavily when the staff returned after the summer and Eid to find the power supply was cut.

The line was disrupted after a spell of rain on Wednesday, said staff. A nearby pole-mounted transformer developed problems but by the time they were fixed and the supply was switched back on, it was unable to manage the load of running computers.

No work was done at court No. 1. A grimy typewritten cause list of cases did the rounds at court No. III. Judge Khalida Yaseen of court No. II soldiered ahead, as she has done in the past under such conditions.

Among the cases that could not be heard because of the power cut and absent defence lawyers was the trial of Qadir alias Dakait. Qadir is facing charges of killing a police officer. Seven other men accused in the case are being treated as fugitives, including Umer Kutchi and Rashid Rekha. The case will now be heard on August 27. It was rescheduled on August 15 after the investigator requested more time for a forensic report.

The case deals with charges of murder, attempted murder, assault or using criminal force to prevent public servants from working, using explosives and common intent under the Pakistan Penal Code, sections 3 and 4 of the Explosives Act and under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Court No. III was also expected to file formal charges against Mohammad Dawood, who has been accused in two prominent cases: reportedly carrying out the 2011 bomb blast at Seaview, and the attack on Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine in 2010.  Two police officers and three alleged militants were killed in the Seaview blast, while at least nine people were killed and 65 others were injured in the shrine attack. Dawood will now be charged on September 7.

Dawood was arrested this January by the Anti-Extremism Cell and the Crime Investigation Department from Ittehad Town in Baldia, according to reports published at the time.

The First Information Reports (FIR) of the two attacks, which were filed by the Darakshan and Boat Basin police stations, respectively were drawn up with the same sections of the penal code and explosives act.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2012.

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