KARACHI: The prosecution seemed to have gained ground in the investigation of the Safoora bus massacre as two more witnesses identified three of the suspects held in the case on Wednesday.
Tahir Hussain Minhas alias Saeen, Saad Aziz alias Tin Tin and Asadur Rehman alias Malik were presented before a Malir district judicial magistrate for an identification parade for the second time in a week. Due to the high-profile nature of the case, the proceedings took place within the judge's chambers amid tight security.
According to sources, two witnesses, whose names have not been disclosed, picked out the suspects before the judge. A source added that the witnesses, who were reportedly present near the site of the attack, deposed that they had heard the sound of continuous gunfire for a few minutes and then seen the suspects fleeing in blood-stained clothes.
The judge, after recording their statements, sealed his report to be sent to the anti-terrorism court trying the case. The witnesses will be recalled by the trial court to record their statements once the case reaches the evidence stage.
On June 10, five key witnesses, who were among those injured in the attack, had also identified Aziz and Minhas before the same judge, telling the court that Minhas was one of the shooters while Aziz had filmed the carnage.
At least 47 people of the Ismaili community were shot dead while 10 were wounded when attackers boarded a community bus and opened fire at the passengers in Safoora Goth on May 13. The three aforementioned suspects are being held by the police for their alleged involvement in the attack while five to six other suspects are absconding.
Meanwhile, an eyewitness also identified Aziz and Minhas as the killers of a naval officer. According to the prosecution, 40-year-old Captain Nadeem Ahmed of the Pakistan Navy was gunned down while his British wife, Tracy, was wounded in an early morning drive-by shooting on Karsaz Road in September 2013. The two suspects were presented before an East district judge, where an eyewitness picked them out from a line-up as the shooters. Aziz, Minhas and Rehman are also being tried in other cases of targeted killings and attacks on schools, mosques and Imambargahs.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2015.