Karachi: Lack of evidence leads to suspects’ acquittal
KARACHI: The security forces have been unable to put a single suspect allegedly involved in high profile cases behind the bars after the courts found these suspects as innocent civilians due to lack of evidence against them, Pakistan Today has learnt. Security forces could not provide enough evidence before the court to get the suspects guilty. The suspects took advantage and got release through courts. Since 2002, Karachi‘s elite police have arrested a total of 113 suspected militants allegedly involved in high profile cases. Most of them were set free by the courts, because the police could not present enough evidence against them. Several cases are on record where the police have picked up “genuine suspects” following a major attack in the city. The suicide car attack on the French engineers on May 8 2002, attack on the American consulate in 2002, attack in 2005 wherein David Foy, an American diplomat, was killed in 2005, the Corps Commander attack on Clifton Bridge, the Rimpa Plaza massacre in Saddar, the attack on the American consulate and the subsequent arrest of Waheed doctor brothers were the cases where common individuals were picked up as potential suspects but subsequently they were released by the courts.
An interesting aspect of the case is that police officers who took credit for these arrests were awarded for their “bravery” through promotions and cash rewards. The police department and the government, that conferred these awards, never bothered to hold these officers accountable after the courts’ verdicts.
Records of the courts show that most of the people arrested by police as terrorists were apparently innocent. According to the data collected by this scribe from the offices of the courts in Karachi, more than half of the suspected militant commanders arrested by the police were proven innocent or they were sentenced minor punishments.
This year alone, the inefficient police in Karachi have claimed the arrest of 58 Taliban commanders and the five would-be suicide bombers. None have been produced before the courts, and they are still under remand for investigation. In the last 116 cases filed, 88 accused militants were proven innocent while the rest of the cases are still undergoing trial.
Asif Zaheer, Rizwan Bashir and Adnan were arrested and accused of having a hand in the attack on the French engineers. They were declared innocent by the Sindh High Court and released after the police failed to bring substantial evidence against them.
Usman Ghani and Anwarul Haq were arrested by police in the Marriott suicide attack. Ghani was released by the Sindh High court, while Haq’s appeal is still pending with the court. Ghani was also released because of lack of evidence.
Five suspects arrested by police in attack on Ali Raza Imam Bargah were released by the Sindh High Court. Similarly, police arrested Imran, Hanif, Sharab, Mufti Zubair and an Inspector of Pakistan Rangers Waseem for being allegedly involved in planning to make an attack on ex-president PervaizMusharaf but they were released by the Sindh High Court because of non-availability of evidences against them.
In another case, police arrested a student Aftab Nazeer of Jamia Banoria, allegedly involved in possible attack on Empress Market, was released by the Sindh High Court. The court made remarks in the decision that an action should be taken against the IG Sindh and SSP of Crime Investigation Department, of that time, Fayaz Laghari, as the arrested person was an innocent student.
“Actually the Karachi police do not have the capacity to curb the terrorism from the city due to lack of facilities,” A high official of Karachi police told Pakistan Today on anonymity.
He, however, admitted Karachi provides manpower and financial resources to the militants. “These boys were released after being proven innocent, because they never had a case against them. The lack of evidence is enough to prove that police have a weak case because they pick the wrong boys,” said Farooq Advocate, who defended a number of such suspects.