KARACHI: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) framed charges on Thursday against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA elected from Lyari, Shahjahan Baloch, and five others for their alleged involvement in Arshad Pappu's murder.
The alleged Lyari gangster, Arshad Pappu, his brother, Yasir Arafat, and their confidant, Juma Shera, were killed on March 16. Pappu, his brother and their close aide were picked up from a house in the DHA, and taken to Afshani Gali in Lyari, where they were tortured for over an hour before being beheaded.
The ATC indicted Shahjahan, Zubair Baloch, Zakir Dada, Abdul Rehman, Inspector Yousuf Baloch and Javed Baloch, after they were produced before the court.
After the suspects pleaded not guilty, the court issued notices to the prosecution witnesses for January 11.
Meanwhile, Dada requested the court to provide him a lawyer on the state's expense as he couldn't afford to hire one. The court, while accepting his request, ordered the state prosecutor to arrange a counsel for Dada.
Despite repeated notices, the accused did not turn up before the court, following which the court had issued their arrest warrants. However, those warrants could not be executed and the court decided to issue proclamations against them under section-19(10) of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, (ATA).
Under the said section of the ATA, any accused may be tried in his absence if the ATC is satisfied that such absence is deliberate and brought about to impede the course of justice, provided that the accused person shall not be tried under this sub-section unless a proclamation has been published in respect of him at least in three national newspapers requiring him to appear at a specified place within seven days.
Following this, the court sources said that the court can continue proceedings and announce its verdict in the absence of the absconders.
Earlier, an ATC court had declared the suspects, banned Peoples Amn Committee chief Uzair Jan Baloch, Habib Jan Baloch, Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla, Asif Kana, Zahid Ladla, Faisal Pathan, Yasir Pathan, and Inspector Chand Khan Niazi proclaimed offenders and had ordered the confiscation of their movable and immoveable property.
A case was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 365 (kidnapping with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 297 (trespassing on burial place, etc), 392 (punishment for robbery), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section-7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act at the Kalakot police station.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2013.
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