Karachi: Afaq gets bail in official’s kidnap case
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court on Saturday granted bail to Afaq Ahmed, the interned chairman of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi), in a kidnapping for ransom case.
MrAhmed and his aides were charged with kidnapping a sub-divisional officer of the Karachi Development Authority in May 2001 in Korangi and demanding a ransom for his release.
Judge KhalidaYasin of ATC-II granted bail to the accused against a surety bond of Rs500,000 after hearing arguments from both sides.
The court in its order observed that it appeared from the record that AfaqAhmed with co-accused Younus Khan, Zafar and Jameel was shown in blue ink in column II of the charge-sheet and the administrative judge after receiving the charge-sheet sent the case to the trial court without passing any order under Section 173 (3) of the criminal procedure code (CrPC).
The trial court after recording the statements of the IO and PDSP had passed an order to join Afaq, Younus, Zafar and issued warrants for their arrest and they were declared proclaimed offenders in September 2001, it added.
AtharUsmani, JamilAhmed and Zafar were convicted under Sections 348 (wrongful confinement to extort confession or compel restoration of property) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code for detaining the victim at BaitulHamza.
Shahzad Bihari, Babli alias Kalia and Salman Younus were acquitted by the court in November 2001 on the ground that the act of taking the captive away did not amount to abduction and no offence under Section 365-A (kidnapping for ransom) of the PPC was made out.
The court further said the only evidence against the applicant was the statement of the victim recorded by the police under Section 161 of the CrPC in which he stated that he saw AfaqAhmed sitting in a chair when the armed men took him in and again when he was taken out.
The victim’s counsel also referred to the evidence of Colonel Abdul Malik of the Rangers, who negotiated with AfaqAhmedand the victim was handed over to the Rangers by Younus Khan, but Colonel Malik was not nominated as a witness in the charge-sheet, it added.
The court also ruled that while considering the bail application, the court did not have to go through the evidence recorded against the applicant, but to see whether the contents of the FIR and charge-sheet involved the accused in the commission of the offence and the name of the applicant was not mentioned in the FIR while he was placed in column II of the charge-sheet.
The victim in his statement had not directly involved the applicant in taking him to BaitulHazma and such an act of taking away did not amount to abduction and the victim’s detention invoked Sections 348 and 34 of the PPC and the maximum punishment under these sections were three years, which made it a bailable offence, it maintained.
The court also disregarded the contention of the prosecutor that the applicant was declared a proclaimed offender, thus lost his normal rights under the law, and observed that the applicant had been in prison since April 2004 and the police were well aware of it but they did not arrest and produce him in court.
“However, deeper appreciation of the record cannot be considered at bail stage, only the content of FIR, challan, statements of prosecution witnesses under Section 161 of CrPC, seizure of memos can be looked into. Only tentative assessment is to be made whether applicant is connected in the commission of crime,” the court concluded.
MrAhmed was granted bail by the Sindh High Court on Sept 26 in the last of the cases against him, but the authorities disallowed his release and detained him under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance for one month.
On Oct 6, the police through an application informed the court that Afaq Ahmed had been identified as one of the absconding accused in the kidnapping of a sub-divisional officer of the KDA, Jameel Baloch, in 2001.
A case (FIR 201/2001) was registered under Sections 365-A, 109 and 34 of the PPC read with Section 7 of the Anti-terrorism Act.