An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday acquitted the chief cleric of Lal Masjid and 16 other persons in a case on the killing of a Rangers official, five years after the trial began.
Special ATC Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman acquitted 17 accused, including Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi, in the murder case of Lance Naik Mubarak Hussain. In his short order, the judge said the prosecution failed to prove its case against the accused persons.
The other acquitted persons included Aziz’s wife Umme Hasan, their daughter Tayyaba Dua, Aziz’s brother, Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, who was killed during operation, Rasheed’s wife Humaira Ghazi and teachers and students of Jamia Faridia.
The trial court had already declared four accused — Abu Bakar, Mujeebur Rehman, Muhammad Saeed and Muhammad Imran — as proclaimed offenders after they failed to appear in court.
Aziz had been granted bail in 2008 along with other accused members of his family.
Speaking after the decision, Aziz called his acquittal “a victory for the truth”, while adding, “The students at the mosque were targeted by [former] President Pervez Musharraf for disagreeing with the policies of the government.”
Defence lawyer Advocate Wajihuddin said that there were five more cases against the students and clerics of Lal Masjid pending in other courts of Islamabad, including the kidnappings of a woman and two policemen by Jamia Faridia students.
“As soon as Maulana Aziz is acquitted in the other cases, proper legal action will be initiated against former President Musharraf,” he said.
Maulana Aziz was accused of urging his students to attack the security forces and of abetting the murder of Hussain.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2012.