Karachi: MQM-H chief indicted in kidnap case
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court on Monday indicted the interned chairman of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, Afaq Ahmed, in a kidnapping for ransom case.
He along with his accomplices has been charged with allegedly abducting a sub-divisional officer of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) for ransom in a Korangi area in May 2001.
Judge Khalida Yasin of the ATC-II, who is conducting the trial inside the Central Prison Karachi due to security concerns, read out the charges against Mr Ahmed.
However, he pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the case.
The court summoned prosecution witnesses with direction to record their testimonies on Jan 12.
The MQM’s leader, who has been in prison since April 2004, was granted bail by this court in this case on Nov 26, 2011. This is one of the last cases against him in which he was either acquitted or granted bail.
But the authorities again disallowed his release and confined him under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance.
Previously, he was confined under the MPO law on Sept 26 after he was ordered to be released by a court considering that he had been either granted bail or acquittal in all cases against him.
Then on Oct 6, police through an application informed the court that Mr Ahmed had been identified as one of absconding accused in this case and requested it to conduct his trial.
According to the prosecution, KDA sub-divisional officer Jamil Ahmed Baloch was abducted on May 5, 2001 and taken to the MQM headquarters, Baitul Hamza. He was released only after negotiations were held with Rangers and Mr Ahmed, it added.
The court record says that the charge-sheet submitted in court on July 8, 2001 showed Suleman Younus in custody and Shahzad Behari, Babli Eijaz and Athar Usmani as absconders, while the names of Afaq Ahmed, Younus Khan and Zafar were placed in column No 2 (no evidence) of the charge-sheet.
However, the administrative judge after receiving the charge-sheet sent the case to the trial court without passing any order under Section 173(3) (whenever it appears from a report forwarded under this section that the accused has been released on his bond, the magistrate shall make such order for the discharge of such bond or otherwise as he thinks fit) of the criminal procedure code, it added.
The court after recording statements of the investigation officer and the prosecution deputy superintendent of police (PDSP) had passed the order making Afaq, Younus and Zafar part of the trial and issued their warrants, but the same were not executed and then they were declared proclaimed offenders in September 2001, it added.
A case (FIR No 201/2001) was lodged under Section 365-A (kidnapping to extort money), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti–terrorism Act, 1997 at the Korangi police station on a complaint of Sheikh Abdullah, the then sub-engineer of the KDA office, Korangi No 4.
In the first batch of the trial, the court had acquitted three accused on the ground that the offence did not attract Section 365-A of the PPC and convicted as many accused persons under Section 348 (wrongful confinement to extort confession or compel restoration of property) of the PPC.