9 acquitted in explosives case in Rawalpindi
RAWALPINDI, April 12: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday acquitted nine men convicted in a case of carrying huge quantity of explosive material, and rejected the appeal of prosecution for enhancing their sentences.
Justice Chaudhry Mohammad Tariq of LHC’s Rawalpindi bench accepted the appeals of Qari Mohammad Illyas and eight others, setting aside their convictions after their lawyer argued that the prosecution had failed in proving that the men were arrested from a house in the outskirts of Rawalpindi on January 29, 2009.
The nine men have already been acquitted by an anti-terrorism court in the case of killing Army Surgeon General Mushtaq Baig in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi on February 25, 2008 for want of evidence against them.
Qari Illyas alias Qari Jamil, a resident of Chakwal, Mohammad Rizwan alias Shamsul Haq, Zeeshan Jalil alias Khizar, and Mohammad Sarfraz alias Mohammad Khan, residents of Karachi, Dr Abdul Razzaq, a resident of Lahore, Faisal Ahmed Khan and Osama bin Waheed alias Hadayatullah, residents of Bhakhar, Mohammad Naeem Shakir alias Zubair, a resident of Sheikhupura, and Mohammad Nadeem alias Babu Salahud Din, a resident of Rawalpindi, were given 10 years jail terms each on November 16 last year by the court of a magistrate after they were arrested by Saddar Barooni police with explosive material and illegal weapons.
The high court on March 1 suspended their conviction and granted them bail but they could not be released after Islamabad administration issued their detention orders. The Islamabad High Court on April 6 set aside the detention orders, saying the men had been in jail for the last two years and could not be a threat for public peace.
Police claimed arresting the men in January 2009 from a house in Dhoke Lakhan near Dhamial Army Aviation Base, saying they had recovered explosive material and illegal weapons.
Talking to Dawn after the decision, Advocate Basharatullah Khan for the appellants said they had pleaded before the court that the nine men were picked by intelligence agencies about three months before they were shown arrested in January 2009. Different petitions were filed with the high court for the recovery of these men but they were later implicated in two terrorism cases.