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KARACHI, July 24: A sessions court acquitted on Tuesday seven alleged members of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in a police encounter case for want of evidence.
The seven men — Saeed Anwar alias Moulvi, Hazrat Umar alias Ameer Sahib, Hamid Ali alias Hamesh alias Baatu, Khan Wali, Khan Alam, Saifur Rehman and Karamat Khan — were arrested in November 2010 after a shootout within the remit of the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station.
The accused through their counsel moved acquittal applications in court and Additional District and Sessions Judge (south) Javed Ahmed Keerio, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex (central prison), allowed the pleas after hearing both sides.
The court ruled that the prosecution remained unable to place any confidence-inspiring evidence before it against the accused and there was no possibility of conviction in future.
At the time of their arrest, the then city police chief, Waseem Ahmed, had claimed that the accused were active members of the banned TTP and planning to target government installations and senior officials in the city. He had alleged that a large cache of explosive materials, suicide jackets and illicit weapons were found in their possession.
They were also involved in a botched attack on the Keamari oil terminal and were close aides to the Karachi chief of the TTP, he added.
A number of cases were registered against them under Sections 324 (attempted murder) and 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code, Section 4/5 of the Explosive Substance Act and 13-D of the Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965 at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station.
However, the accused have already been acquitted in illicit weapons and explosive substance cases for lack of evidence.