KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday convicted a suspect and acquitted two others in a seven-year-old kidnapping case.
Imran Ahsan alias Sunny, Zubair, Salman Qureshi and Laiba were arrested in 2008 during a raid conducted by the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee and the Anti-Violent Crime Cell in Gulistan-e-Jauhar. An abducted child was also rescued.
According to the prosecution, 14-year-old Talha was kidnapped when he and his father, Nafees Ahmed, were on their way home after having dinner at a restaurant in November 2008. They were intercepted by armed men, who forced the boy out of the car while holding Ahmed at gunpoint. Subsequently, the kidnappers called Ahmed, demanding Rs25 million for Talha's release. Two days later, the police traced the culprits and nabbed them.
Investigations revealed that the suspects were also allegedly involved in kidnapping Khurram, the son of a builder, from Gulshan-e-Iqbal. He was released after the payment of Rs1 million in ransom.
The case was heard at length in two ATCs, suffering delays while being transferred between the courts. Meanwhile, Laiba, who allegedly helped the other suspects by keeping the abductees captive in her house, pleaded the court to be considered as a witness for the prosecution. She contended that she wanted to disclose the facts of the case if the court permitted and granted her pardon. Her plea was accepted and she testified against Ahsan and Zubair.
The lawyers defending Ahsan and Zubair, however, opposed her testimony, arguing that she wanted to marry Qureshi, the fourth suspect, and was trying to save him and herself. Laiba, on the other hand, denied having any relationship with Qureshi, claiming that she was a mother and was seeking pardon to allow her child to have a better future.
On Monday, ATC-IV judge Anand Ram Sairani observed that the case had been proved against Ahsan beyond any shadow of doubt and awarded him life imprisonment for both of the kidnappings. On the other hand, Qureshi, who was already on bail was set free as neither of the abductees had assigned him any role in the offences and Laiba had not mentioned him in her statement either.
The case against Zubair, who had managed to escape during the drawn-out trial, remained undecided and will be kept dormant till he is arrested again.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2015.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ