LUBP archive on acquittal of convicts in cases of terrorism in Pakistan

Related posts: LUBP Archive on acquittal of terrorists

Editor’s note: Here is an archive of articles and news items on acquittals of convicts in cases of terrorism in Pakistan. The aim is to demonstrate that a number of factors (military establishment’s influence on judges, prosecutors and police to protect its Jihadi-sectarian assets, terrorists’ threats to judges, prosecutors and police officers, lack of political will by civilian governments, and in a few cases some legal loopholes) result in frequent acquittals of militants arrested on charges of violence and terrorism.  The following list is not exhaustive, we will try to update this archive in the next few days. (end note) 



21 March 2012

Pakistan frees suspected Mumbai plotter
By Amir Mir

ISLAMABAD – A Pakistani court has acquitted a key al-Qaeda operative and an alleged plotter of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in a murder case, with witnesses withdrawing their testimony, likely in fear of reprisals.

Major (retired) Haroon Ashiq, also known as Abu Khattab, is a former Special Service Group (SSG) commando of the Pakistan Army who became a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) trainer after he left the forces in 2000. He was charged with killing Dr Abdul Saboor

Malik, the administrator of the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Lahore, but acquitted on March 11 due to a lack of substantial evidence after both prosecution witnesses retracted their testimonies.

Malik was gunned down on January 16, 2009 near his residence in the Model Town area of Lahore. The police had blamed Haroon for the murder because of Saboo’s ties with the Ahmadiyah minority community, which is detested by al-Qaeda and Taliban.

Haroon is a close associate of Lashkar-e-Toiba’s chief operational commander, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who is currently being tried by a Pakistani court for allegedly masterminding the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008 which killed 172 people.

Haroon had left the LeT in 2003 over differences with Lakhvi, joining commander Ilyas Kashmiri, the amir of the Harkatul Jehadul Islami (HuJI) a few years later. He was arrested in 2009 for the murder of Major General (retired) Amir Faisal Alvi, the first general officer commanding of the elite Special Service Group, on the orders of Kashmiri, but subsequently acquitted.

Alvi had led several successful military operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in the tribal belt of South Waziristan, including the 2004 Angoor Ada operation in North Waziristan where many Arab and Chechen militants were killed or arrested and turned over to the Americans. Major Gen Alvi was shot dead in Islamabad on November 19, 2008 while driving his car.

The police blamed Kashmiri for the murder, alleging that Haroon was the shooter. A 12-page charge sheet submitted against Haroon in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi stated that Alvi was killed to avenge the role he had played in the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

The charge-sheet prepared by the Koral police station in Rawalpindi said Haroon and two others – Nawaz Khan and Ashfaq Ahmed – were involved in the assassination. It also said Kashmiri had already been named by the intelligence agencies for involvement in the October 2008 kidnapping for ransom of Satish Anand, a Karachi-based renowned Hindu film producer and distributor.

After Satish Anand was rescued in April 2009 and the kidnappers arrested, it transpired during subsequent interrogations that Haroon was involved in the murder of Alvi. According to the murder charge sheet, on the day of the assassination, the three accused – Haroon, Ashfaq and Nawaz – followed Alvi when he left his residence in the Bharia Town area of Rawalpindi and killed him along with his driver.

Haroon’s subsequent disclosures during police custody about the links and the activities of Ilyas Kashmiri sent a chill of fear down the spine of his interrogators. Haroon was commissioned in the army in 1987. However, he sought premature retirement in 2001.

Hailing from the Bhimbar district of the Pakistani-Administered Kashmir, Major Haroon was a resident of the Taj Bagh locality in Harbanspura, Lahore. In 2000, when an army officer, Haroon along with his younger brother (Captain Khurram Ashiq, also an army officer), met Commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and eventually joined Lashkar-e-Toiba.

He soon became a trainer of the LeT fighters who were dispatched to the Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir to wage “jihad” against the Indian security forces. However, he had to leave the LeT in December 2003 after developing differences with commander Lakhvi.

Haroon’s younger brother, Khurram, was an assault commander of the elite anti-terrorist Zarrar Company of the Special Service Group of the Pakistan Army. The Ashiq family was Salafi and the brothers worshipped Ibn Taymiyyah and Syed Qutb, two presiding saints of al-Qaeda who are the principal inspirations for the type of Islamic ideology pursued by the terror group’s current leader, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Asia Times Online’s slain Bureau Chief Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was kidnapped and murdered in May 2011, wrote in his book Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 that for Khurram, faith came before country.

Shahzad noted that while on a United Nations mission in Sierra Leone, Khurram built a mosque and a madrassa in Sierra Leone, despite the opposition of his commander, Brigadier Ahmad Shuja Pasha, later chief of the ISI (p 85). Both brothers (Haroon and Khurram) had joined the LeT, but had soon realized that the LeT was just an extension of Pakistan’s armed forces. (p 86).

In December 2006, Haroon and Khurram went to Wana in South Waziristan where they met Pakistani Taliban commander Mullah Nazir. They later traveled to Miramshah in North Waziristan, met with Kashmiri and finally joined hands with him.

In 2007, Khurram went to Afghanistan’s Helmand province to fight against Western forces and eventually lost his life in March 2007 while fighting alongside the Afghan Taliban. Saleem Shahzad writes in his book that the 26/11 terrorist attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war were scripted by officers from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and approved by al-Qaeda commanders.

Carried out by a group of LeT terrorists who were allegedly trained in Pakistan, the Mumbai episode was actually the revival of an old plan by the ISI to distract the Pakistan Army from the Waziristan tribal region and focus on fighting India instead. This nearly succeeded as the Indo-Pak tensions soared following the 26/11 attacks.

Saleem Shahzad wrote:
With Ilyas Kashmiri’s immense expertise on Indian operations, he stunned al-Qaeda leaders with the suggestion that expanding the war theatre was the only way to overcome the present impasse. He suggested conducting an operation in India massive enough to bring India and Pakistan to war and with that all proposed operations against al-Qaeda would be brought to a grinding halt. Al-Qaeda excitedly approved the proposal. Kashmiri then handed over the plan to a very able former Army Major Haroon Ashiq, who was also a former LeT commander who was still very close with Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi. Major Haroon knew about a plan by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence that had been in the pipelines for several months with the official policy to drop it as it was to have been a low-profile routine proxy operation in India through LeT. Major Haroon Ashiq, with the help of Ilyas Kashmiri’s men in India, hijacked the ISI plan and turned it into the devastating attacks that shook Mumbai on November 26, 2008 and brought Pakistan and India to the brink of a war.”

As an al-Qaeda operative, Major Haroon enjoyed strong contacts inside the Pakistan Army. Saleem Shahzad writes in his book:
Major Haroon developed a silencer for the AK-47. This became an essential component of al-Qaeda’s special guerrilla operations. He then visited China to procure night-vision glasses. The biggest task was to clear them through customs in Pakistan, Haroon called on his friend Captain Farooq, who was President [Pervez] Musharraf’s security officer. Farooq went to the airport in the president’s official car and received Haroon at the immigration counter. In the presence of Farooq, nobody dared touch Haroon’s luggage, and the night-vision glasses arrived in Pakistan without any hassle
. (p. 88).

Saleem Shahzad further disclosed that al-Qaeda targeted NATO supplies through Haroon in 2008:
“Major Haroon Ashiq travelled through North Waziristan to Karachi. When night fell, he stayed in army messes in the countryside. Being an ex-army officer he was allowed that facility. He spoke English and Urdu with an unmistakable military accent’ (p. 92). He took revenge on Major General Amir Faisal Alvi because the latter had killed a lot of al-Qaeda men – including Abdur Rehman Kennedy – as leader of a Pakistan Army assault on Angoor Adda in North Waziristan. Haroon ambushed Alvi in Islamabad jumping out of his car and killing Alvi with his army revolver’ (p 93).
Major Haroon’s interrogation officer in Adiala jail of Rawalpindi told Saleem Shahzad that he had started admiring his prisoner. During the interrogation, he admitted to killing Major General Alvi with the help of a man named Major Basit from Karachi.

According to Haroon’s own police confession, he was told by Ilyas Kashmiri in early 2008 that the militants were facing financial problems and were in dire need of funds. Kashmiri tasked him with raising funds by kidnapping affluent people living in urban areas. Satish Anand subsequently became the first influential person to be abducted from Karachi. Haroon’s interrogators say Ilyas Kashmiri also reportedly paid Rs125,000 to Haroon for killing Alvi.

Despite the revelations from his interrogation, when produced before the court, Haroon retracted his confession. At the next stage, most witnesses and complainants withdrew their testimony against him. Subsequently, a special judge of an Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi, Raja Ikhlaq Hussain, acquitted Haroon, Nawaz and Ashfaq, again over lack of evidence.

Haroon is not the only al-Qaeda operative to have been acquitted by a Pakistani court for these reasons. The courts have failed to convict a single terrorist during the last three years over the dozens of high-profile terror attacks in Rawalpindi and Islamabad between 2007 and 2010. These attacks mainly targeted the security forces and killed over 200 people.

According to available statistics, of the two dozen cases of suicide attacks targeting the security and law enforcement agencies in and around these cities during last three years, the conviction rate remains zero.

This dire statistic not only affects the resolve of the security forces in fighting terrorism, but also undermines any respect for the judiciary. However, the judicial circles in Rawalpindi blame both the police and the intelligence agencies for the high acquittal rate, asking how can a judge convict without evidence or witnesses?

Amir Mir is a senior Pakistani journalist and the author of several books on the subject of militant Islam and terrorism, the latest being The Bhutto murder trail: From Waziristan to GHQ.


11 March 2012

Three accused in doctor’s murder case acquitted

ADDITIONAL District and Sessions Judge Arif Hameed Sheikh on Saturday acquitted banned outfit Harkatul Mujahideen-Al-Islami’s trio Major (retd) Haroon Rasheed, Muhammad Nawaz Khan and Waheed Rasheed, accused of murdering Shaikh Zayed Hospital Administrator Dr Abdul Saboor Malik.

The court has released the aforementioned accused after the prosecution witnesses resiled from their statements. Witnesses, including Abdul Faisal who is also the complainant of the case and Abid Saleem stated before the court that the trio was not actual accused.

According the case, Shaikh Zayed Hospital Administrator Dr Abdul Saboor Malik, 43, was gunned down by three unidentified armed assailants near his Model Town C-Block residence. He was taken to Shaikh Zayed Hospital by the Rescue 1122 officials where doctors pronounced him dead.

Later, Model Town division police investigated the case, revealing that banned religious organization Harkatul Mujahideen-Al-Islami claimed that they had killed Saboor due to his affiliation with the Ahmadi community. However, the wife of victim doctor and Ahmadi community denied that Dr Saboor had any link with the said community.

Later, Rawalpindi Motorway police intercepted ex-Major Haroon Rasheed along with his associate Talib when they were allegedly shifting a local abducted businessman to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Upon Rasheed’s confession, four more people, Basit, Salman, Nawaz and Rasheed were arrested in Karachi.

Police alleged the accused were the main members of the said banned organization. The accused while recording their statements before the police said they planned to abduct the doctor and murder him after receiving a handsome ransom, but failure in abducting him had led to a direct murder. They alleged Saboor belonged to the Ahmadi community, which sparked their enmity with him.

It is said that leader of the arrested persons was Ilyas Kashmiri who is allegedly running a brigade of Harkatul Mujahideen-Al-Islami, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda. There are also allegations against Kashmiri that he was involved in kidnapping people from across the country to support the militant activists waging jihad against the security forces.

However, security forces in June 2011 had claimed that Ilyas Kashmiri was no more as he was killed in drone attack by the US.

Before being shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail, Haroon and others were in Adiala Jail for their alleged involvement in the murders of Major General (retd) Ameer Faisal Alvi, his driver and a passer-by in 2008.

It is pertinent to mention that Sindh Home Department on February 27, 2012 in a communiqué had requested the home department of Punjab for Haroon’s transfer from Punjab to Sindh over fears that he could be released.

Moreover, Interior Minister Rehman Malik during his briefing in the Sindh Assembly had confirmed Haroon’s contacts with Al-Qaeda. In Sindh, Haroon is an accused in noted businessman and filmmaker Satish Anand’s kidnapping case. Haroon had left Pakistan Army in 2002 as he had conflicts with the policies of former dictator Pervez Mushraf over Pak-US relations.


1 March 2012

Chief cleric of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz acquitted

District Court Islamabad has acquitted Lal Masjad’s chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz in two separate cases of treason and threatening the government with a backlash of suicide attacks.
Judicial Magistrate Kashif Qayyum Sheikh on Wednesday heard the cases against Mualana Abdul Aziz and gave verdict in his favor due to absence of solid proof against the accused.
Earlier, the cases were under process in Aabpara Police Station, which were registered in March 2004 and in 2007 before Lal Masjad operation.
A treason case was registered against the chief cleric of Lal Masjid in March 2004 for issuing a decree against Wana Operation being carried out by Pakistan army against militants by Pakistan in South Waziristan Agency.
The case was registered on the application of then City Magistrate Islamabad, Firasat Ali Khan, (Currently Additional Deputy Commissioner Islamabad).
He had accused the cleric for speaking against the government and declaring the military operation as Un-Islamic by using platform of Lal Masjad.
Maulana was also charged for inciting people against the government and issuing decree that no funeral prayer should be offered for any army personnel killed during the military operation.
On Wednesday, five witnesses including Firasat Ali Khan appeared and recorded their statements.
Wajih Ullah Khan, the counsel of Maulana Abdul Aziz told the court that nothing had been proven against his client while police has also failed to produce any solid evidence in this regard.
In the second case, registered in 2007, he was accused of threatening the government of suicide attacks if the government tried to pull down Lal Masjid or Jamia Hafsa (the women’s faculty.
He was also charged for announcing to run movement for enforcement of Sharia Law in the country, misuse of loudspeaker, burning CD’s shops and kidnapping the foreigners.
The Maulans’s lawyers once again said that allegations were yet to be proved as police has no solid evidence or any witness against his client. He appealed before the court that his client be acquitted.
The court after hearing the witnesses and argument of lawyers from both sides, acquitted Maulana Abdul Aziz in both cases.


28 Jan 2012:

Over six in ten high-profile terror suspects acquitted in Pak in 2011

Islamabad, Sat, 28 Jan 201 2ANI

Islamabad, Jan 28 (ANI): Sixty-three percent (282) of 447 high-profile terrorism cases that had been tried, were acquitted by anti-terrorism courts (ATCs) in Pakistan’s Punjab state in 2011.

According to official statistics, there are a total of 925 high-profile terrorism cases there, The Express Tribune reports.

It also suggested that most of the accused were acquitted by ATCs due to a lack of evidence. They include ring leaders of outlawed terrorist organisations like the Laskhar-e-Jhangvi, the Sipah-e-Sahaba, the Tehreek-e-Taliban and the Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen.

A brief summary of the Punjab public prosecution department has revealed that the accused in 12 cases were acquitted due to compromise in compoundable cases, while suspects in 183 cases were reportedly acquitted over out-of-court settlement with witnesses. The accused in 87 cases were acquitted on merit.

Of the 447 decided cases, the accused in 165 cases were convicted, while out of the total 925 cases, 142 cases were transferred to ordinary courts.

Since December 31, 2011, as many as 336 cases have reportedly been pending before ATCs in Punjab. Of the total 925 cases, 346 had been pending since 2010, while 579 cases were added in 2011. (ANI)


28 Jan 2012

High-profile cases in Punjab: 63% terror suspects acquitted
JANUARY 28, 2012

LAHORE: Terror suspects in 282, or 63%, of 447 high-profile terrorism cases that had been tried, were acquitted by anti-terrorism courts (ATCs) in Punjab in 2011, official statistics obtained by The Express Tribune reveal. There are a total of 925 high-profile terrorism cases.

Most of the accused were acquitted by ATCs due to a lack of evidence. They include ring leaders of outlawed terrorist organisations Laskhar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Tehreek-e-Taliban and Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen. Some of the suspects were also acquitted due to resiling by witnesses.

The accused in 12 cases were acquitted due to compromise in compoundable cases; suspects in 183 cases were acquitted owing to resiling by witnesses or out-of-court compromise; and the accused of 87 cases were acquitted on merit, a brief summary of the Punjab public prosecution department reveal.

Of the 447 decided cases, the accused in 165 cases were convicted, while out of the total 925 cases, 142 cases were consigned or transferred to ordinary courts. Since December 31, 2011, as many as 336 cases have been pending before ATCs in Punjab.

Of the total 925 cases, 346 had been pending since 2010, while 579 cases were added in 2011.

Additional Inspector General of Police (Investigation Branch) Punjab Muhammad Aslam Tareen said that he identified the withdrawal of testimonies by witnesses – who are often threatened or intimidated by terrorist groups – as the primary cause for the low conviction rate. He suggested that the statements of witnesses recorded by the police should be made equivalent to confessional statement of the accused recorded before courts. However, he added, in some cases, the courts do not consider the witness statements as admissible evidence.

Besides resiling of witnesses, other factors that cause a lack of evidence are shortage of modern and scientific investigation, shortage of well trained /well equipped investigation staff, lack of proper coordination between prosecution and investigation staff, the additional IG said.

Chief Prosecutor of the public prosecution department Chaudhry Muhammad Jahangir, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that the prosecution department identified different loopholes in the prosecution of terrorism cases, which have led to so many acquittals. These include a lack of witness protection laws, defective investigations, lack of forensic and other technology that would aid the investigation process.

He added that the prosecution department, after meeting with the IG Punjab, has prepared a standard operating procedure (SOP) regarding the collection of evidence from the crime scene and preparing an FIR draft.

The department has also initiated a police training programme regarding terrorism cases, while the Crime Scene Management Unit (CSMU) is working on gathering forensic and technical experts. The purpose is to make the evidence admissible before the courts to ensure the conviction of the accused, the chief prosecutor stated.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2012.



Actually, in some cases even judges have refused to hear cases. It is time to overhaul our judicial system and investigation mechanisms. Lets have efficient investigation authorities and competent and impartial judges who are willing to hear cases irrespective of fears like our law enforcement agencies and district administrations. Even though the salary of judges and their perks are six times higher than other officials. Salary of CJ and other judges is around $ 4500 per month and free housing, car, utility, crockery etc…. In return what are we getting other than news headlines and pending cases. CJ says government has failed, but he be kind enough to let us know why so many cases are pending and thousands of people are waiting for thier cases to be heard while judges are busy attending lawyers forums and melads !


25 January 2012:

Truth, Dr. Syed Bashir Shah and Witness Protection

by furkan ali

Some months before being brutally silenced, Dr. Syed Bashir Shah, along with a photojournalist was threatened and tortured by police personnel.

The murder of Dr. Syed Baqir Shah last week probably won’t resonate as loudly as some others in recent memory. He wasn’t a politician, a victim of a trigger-happy American or an icon for global jihad. He was only a doctor. A police surgeon committed to speak the truth regardless of the consequences. And that’s precisely what makes Dr. Shah’s death all the more tragic.

Earlier last year, Dr. Shah had given steadfast evidence to the effect that the death of five Chechens in Kharotabad in May was caused by bullet wounds fired by the police and Frontier Constabulary (FC) and not by hand grenades carried by the foreigners as was falsely claimed by the authorities. As a result of his testimony, a Judicial Commission arrived at the conclusion that the police and the FC displayed incompetence, callous stupidity and negligence and should have captured the victims alive. Two officers involved in the incident were subsequently dismissed whereas investigations are pending against two others.

Dr. Shah’s testimony was absolutely critical for the Judicial Commission to render its findings. However, whereas the Kharotabad incident only exposed negligence and high handedness, the wanton murder of Dr. Shah exposes the frailty of our entire criminal justice system. Witnesses, prosecutors and judges are openly intimidated and threatened in and outside of courtrooms. Some, such as Dr. Shah, end up paying the ultimate sacrifice. It thus takes a heroic effort to voluntarily present any evidence against accused persons, especially in a case where the witness doesn’t have any personal interest. In these circumstances, the fact that the Anti-Terrorism courts in Pakistan have a 75% acquittal rate is hardly surprising.

A report by the Punjab Government on this subject states that out of 2,200 persons arrested in relation to terrorist incidents since 1990, a staggering 1,650 were acquitted. That’s a startling statistic – only 550 persons imprisoned for terrorist activists in Punjab over a period of 22 years which has seen over 800 terrorist incidents. Disturbingly, the Chief Public Prosecutor and police authorities in Punjab claim that lack of witness protection and the withdrawal of testimonies by witnesses contribute significantly to such figures.

The legislature, for its part, has made serious attempts to tackle the issue and provide protection to witnesses under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. After an amendment in the law in 2001, Anti-Terrorism courts are empowered to conduct proceedings in camera and prevent disclosure of a witness’s identity to the accused or the press. However, 10 years have since elapsed and it’s the same old story. There’s obviously a leak somewhere in the system. However, in the absence of any research on the issue, one can only question whether it’s the judges who aren’t utilizing these provisions or if accused persons simply manage to flout them.

At the very least, Dr. Shah’s death is a poignant reminder of the inadequacy of these efforts. At best, his death has unveiled courage that Pakistan hasn’t seen for some time. Some months before being brutally silenced, Dr. Shah, along with a photojournalist who had also given evidence to the Judicial Commission inquiring into the Kharotabad incident, was threatened and tortured by police personnel. That such an event failed to deter him speaks volumes of his being. His stoic and unwavering commitment to the truth is best epitomized in an interview in which he lucidly explained the cause of death and repeatedly refuted the police narrative on the incident.

With his death, comes a loud and clear message that justice will be left wanting unless foolproof protection is provided to witnesses, judges and prosecutors by all the pillars of the State. Until that time, criminal justice in our country will have to perilously rest on the herculean shoulders of men such as Dr. Shah.


25 Jan 2012

Over six in ten high-profile terror suspects acquitted in Pakistan in 2011

Islamabad, Sixty-three percent (282) of 447 high-profile terrorism cases that had been tried, were acquitted by anti-terrorism courts (ATCs) in Pakistan’s Punjab state in 2011.

According to official statistics, there are a total of 925 high-profile terrorism cases there, The Express Tribune reports.

It also suggested that most of the accused were acquitted by ATCs due to a lack of evidence. They include ring leaders of outlawed terrorist organisations like the Laskhar-e-Jhangvi, the Sipah-e-Sahaba, the Tehreek-e-Taliban and the Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen.

A brief summary of the Punjab public prosecution department has revealed that the accused in 12 cases were acquitted due to compromise in compoundable cases, while suspects in 183 cases were reportedly acquitted over out-of-court settlement with witnesses. The accused in 87 cases were acquitted on merit.

Of the 447 decided cases, the accused in 165 cases were convicted, while out of the total 925 cases, 142 cases were transferred to ordinary courts.

Since December 31, 2011, as many as 336 cases have reportedly been pending before ATCs in Punjab. Of the total 925 cases, 346 had been pending since 2010, while 579 cases were added in 2011.

21 Jan 2012

LHC orders release of Malik Ishaq

* Denies extension in detention of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader

Staff Report

LAHORE: A three-member review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered the release of Malik Ishaq, leader of a banned outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The review board held that the police had no concrete evidence against the detainee and turned down a request by the Punjab government to extend his detention.

Rahimyar Khan district police officer (DPO) produced Ishaq before the board on Friday under tight security. Review board comprising Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik and Justice Sheikh Ahmed Farooq held in-camera proceedings and heard the arguments of the detainee and the government. The DPO requested further extension in Ishaq’s detention, saying the detainee was kept in fourth schedule and he was supposed to inform the law enforcing agencies of his movement but he violated this condition and used to move without any prior information. He said that Ishaq was released from jail on bail but he started objectionable activities harmful for Shias, adding that a one-month extension in Ishaq’s detention was necessary to keep peace in society.

In his defence, Ishaq said that he was not involved in any illegal or terrorist activity and urged the board to end his detention so that he could live like a free man. After hearing the parties, the board turned down the request to extend the house arrest of Ishaq and ordered his release.

Ishaq was allegedly involved in 44 cases, involving 70 homicides. Courts acquitted him in 34 cases and granted him bail in the remaining 10. He was released from Kot Lakhpat jail on July 14, 2011 after 14 years of imprisonment as the Supreme Court had granted bail in the case of attack on Sri Lankan team.

Later, the Punjab government approached the SC for the cancellation of his bail but the court dismissed the plea. After his bail, the provincial government detained Ishaq in Rahimyar Khan jail for 10 days under Maintenance of Public Order Act but it was extended for 60 days on October 25 and later review board on December 16 had extended his detention for another month.


21 Jan 2012

‘LeJ chief involved in bomb attack on Shias’
January 21, 2012

Lahore: A Pakistani judicial review board on Saturday ended the house arrest of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq, detained last year for attacks on Shias, even as the police has accused him and 14 others of role in a bomb attack on a Shia procession that killed 20 people on January 15.

Pakistani police today accused Ishaq and 14 others of involvement in bombing of a Shia ‘Chehlum’ procession of Hazrat Imam Hussain, earlier this week.

The move came hours after a judicial review board of the Lahore High Court ended the house arrest of Ishaq, who was detained last year after his group was blamed for a string of attacks on the minority Shia community.

Police in Khanpur town of Punjab province registered a case against 15 people for alleged involvement in the January 15 bombing of a ‘Chehlum’ procession.

They included Ishaq, Shafiq Dahar, Ghulam Muhammad, Muhammad Yaqoob, Muhammad Usman and 10 unidentified persons.

Police registered an FIR against the 20 people under the Anti-Terrorism Act while acting on a complaint by Imdad Hussain of Mauza Jetha Bhatha.

Liquat Ali, the police officer investigating the bombing, said that he was waiting for a nod from his superiors for raiding the residence of Ishaq and arresting him.

“We have started raiding the homes of the other accused named in the FIR but have not yet proceeded against Ishaq as he is a high-profile personality,” he said.

The judicial review board issued an order for freeing Ishaq after setting aside the Punjab government’s plea that Ishaq’s detention should be extended for maintaining law and order in the province.

Ishaq was released from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail in July last year after he was granted bail by the Supreme Court. He had been imprisoned for 14 years.

While he was still in prison, he was accused of masterminding the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.

The Punjab government detained Ishaq under the Maintenance of Public Order law in September last year following a string of deadly attacks on Shias that were blamed on the LeJ.

His detention was periodically extended thereafter by the review board.

Ishaq was charged in 44 cases but convicted in only two, for which he received prison terms totalling six-and-half years.

He was acquitted in 34 cases and granted bail in seven others while one case was discharged.

He has been accused of involvement in the killing of at least 70 people, a majority of them Shias.


20 Jan 2012

Less than a week after massacre of 20 Shias in Khanpur, Punjabi judges release Malik Ishaq



23 Dec 2011

Two acquitted in Pirwadhai suicide attack case

Our correspondent
Friday, December 23, 2011

Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) Judge Shahid Rafique Thursday acquitted two men who were allegedly involved in Pirwadhai suicide attack case in which six people were killed and eight seriously injured.

The court, giving the benefit of doubt, acquitted Qari Sanaullah Khan and Rizwan Qadir who were allegedly involved in the Pirwadhai suicide bomb blast. The Westridge Police Station had registered a case under Sections 302 and 7 ATA against Qari Sanaullah Khan and Rizwan Qadir in the case on January 1, 2009. The incident occurred in front of Al-Meraj Hotel, Pirwadhai, where a suicide bomber had blown himself in a Suzuki pick-up and killed six people.


1 Dec 2011

Insufficient proof: Court acquits militant’s sons in Swat
By Fazal Khaliq

The Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) in Swat acquitted the sons of Maulana Sufi Mohmmad, chief of the banned Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), in another case on Wednesday. Sufi’s three sons – Abdullah, Fazlullah and Abdur Rehman – were charged for involvement in a suicide attack on Mingora Police Station in January 2009.

The ATC acquitted the men after the police failed to present witnesses against them during the prosecution. The three men were earlier acquitted by the ATC in a different case due to insufficient proof. The men, however, are still in police custody under 48 more charges, trials of which are underway in the ATC.
The US State Department, in a report published in Septmber 2011, said that Pakistan was incapable of prosecuting terror suspects, since three in four defendants are acquitted.
The report said that while Pakistan maintained it was committed to prosecuting those accused of terrorism, its ATC rulings last year tell a different story, showing that Pakistan’s acquittal rate of prosecuting suspected terrorists was approximately 75%.
In recent years, courts have yet to issue a verdict on a terrorism case or have released many terror suspects for lack of evidence, including the controversial Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s leader Hafiz Muhammed Saeed.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2011.


19 Nov 2011

ATC acquits SSP man charged with dual murder
19 Nov 2011

KARACHI – An anti-terrorism court (ATC) acquitted an activist of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) on Friday in the murder case of a DSP and his son. Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of ATC-III Karachi acquitted Dilawar alias Dildar for lack of evidence.

Dilawar was arrested in 2007, much later than his nomination in the case in 2002. According to the prosecutor, he, along with his two aides, killed DSP Sadiq Hussain and his son Abid Hussain on sectarian basis. The witness of the case also murdered.


18 Nov 2011

Sufi`s sons acquitted in terrorism caseFrom the Newspaper

November 18, 2011

MINGORA, Nov 17: A special anti-terrorism court acquitted here on Thursday three sons of Maulana Sufi Mohammad, chief of outlawed Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi, for lack of evidence.

A case regarding acts of terrorism and killings was registered against Sufi Mohammad`s three sons, Abdullah, Abdur Rehman and Fazlullah, at Saidu Sharif police station on Feb 16, 2008 under anti-terrorism act. The case was under process at ATC Gul Kadda. Prominent advocate, Sajjad Anwar, represented the accused before the court.

ATC judge Asim Imam after hearing the arguments acquitted Sufi Mohammad`s sons on the grounds that the government had failed to produce sufficient evidence against the accused. The accused are still in police custody and facing some others cases.—Correspondent


17 Nov 2011: ATC acquits three sons of Sufi Muhammad

November 17, 2011

SWAT: The Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) on Thursday acquitted three sons of chief of banned outfit of Tanzim Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), Maulana Sufi Muhammad.

Anti Terrorism Court judge, Asim Imam acquitted Abdullah, Abdur Rehman and Fazlullah, who were charged by Saidu Sharif police in treason, terrorism and murder cases after the prosecution failed to prove its case.

The accused were charged by Saidu Sharif police under various sections of laws including Anti Terrorism Act on February 16, 2008.

The police officials however said that the accused were only acquitted in cases registered against them by Saidu Sharif police station and are in police custody in other cases. (APP)

13 Nov 2011

Anti Terrorisim Court Releases Two Terrorists Of Banned Outfit

MARDAN: Anti Terrorisim Court have released two terrorists of banned outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba.

According to the Shia Post Correspondant two terrorists of Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) Malik Naghaar aur Niaz Ali were released by Pakistani Anti terrorism Court. Both terrorists are operation leader in Mardan district of Pakistan.

Pakistani courts have started a campain to release the terorits even the master mind of huge occurance of terrorisim and target killers are free.

The US State Department also published a report few weeks ago said that Pakistan was incapable of prosecuting terror suspects, since three in four defendants are acquitted.

According to a report in The Telegraph , the US State Department’s 2010 report criticized its frontline ally in the war on terror saying it had had failed to outlaw militant Islamic terror groups, since they escaped bans by changing names.

It said that while Pakistan maintained it was committed to prosecuting those accused of terrorism, its Anti-Terrorism Court’s (ATC) rulings last year tell a different story showing that Pakistan’s acquittal rate of prosecuting suspected terrorists was approximately 75%.

A lot of people have died complaining that terrorists released by the courts will put them to death.


1 Nov 2011

Lal Masjid cleric acquitted by Pakistani court

By BILL ROGGIONovember 1, 2011

Maulana Abdullah Aziz surrounded by his armed guard. AP photo.

Maulana Abdullah Aziz, one of the two clerics who led the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, insurrection in Islamabad in 2007, looks to be beating the latest round of charges filed against him in Pakistani court. From The Express Tribune:

District courts acquitted the chief cleric of Lal Masjid in four of the 12 cases registered against him for crimes including challenging government writ by keeping illegal arms.
Judicial Magistrate Kashif Qayyum Sheikh acquitted Abdul Aziz in four cases which were registered against him at the Aabpara police station. The cases included delivering provocative speeches against former president Pervez Musharraf’s government, participation in the issuance of ‘fatwas’ against the military operation in the tribal areas, keeping illegal arms and kidnapping policemen.

While the status of the other eight charges against Aziz is unclear, it is a safe bet that that they’ll either be dismissed or dropped. Pakistani courts have an abysmal record in prosecuting terrorists like Aziz.

Aziz was released from prison in April 2009 after being captured while attempting to flee the Lal Masjid during a Pakistani military assault in July 2007. Two days after his release, he called for jihad and the nationwide implementation of sharia, or Islamic law, during his first sermon at the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque after his imprisonment. In September 2009, A Pakistani terrorism court dismissed charges against Aziz and called for him to be tried in civil court.

Aziz is one of several Teflon clerics in Pakistan who are able to dodge terrorism charges with ease. The most notable is Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The government has placed him under loose house arrest several times, only to have courts dismiss charges against him.

Sufi Mohammed, the leader of the pro-Taliban Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammed (TNSM or the Movement for the Enforcement of Mohammed’s Law) who was a leader rebellion in the Swat Valley from 2007-2009, is facing charges for sedition, but there were rumors floating around last year that he may be released from prison and the charges against him may be dropped so the military can cut yet another peace deal with him.

Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the spiritual leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI, or the Movement of Islamic Holy War), was released in early December 2010 after being taken into protective custody in August 2010. HUJI is closely linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Jaish-e-Mohammed emir Masood Azhar was briefly detained after the November 2008 suicide assault in Mumbai, India, but was quietly freed from custody shortly afterward. JeM also is closely linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Read more:

24 Oct 2011

Shia genocide, complicity of judiciary and the attempts to stifle dissent – by Haider Karrar


19 Oct 2011

When Will Pakistan Control Laskare Jhangvi & Sipae Sahaba?

October 19, 2011 by alaiwah

Poisoned minds-fuelling the massacre of Shias inPakistan
by Saba Imtiaz

On September 19, 2011, 26 people were shot dead in Mastung, Baluchistan, after a bus carrying pilgrims toIrancame under fire from militants later claimed as their own by the anti-Shia sectarian group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. According to the bus driver, the pilgrims were told to step out of the bus and were shot dead after being identified as Shia. The attackers escaped, leaving behind bullet-ridden bodies – which lay unattended for an hour until locals initiated their own rescue operation – and a community in mourning, yet again.
So far 179 people have been killed in sectarian attacks this year.
This was not the first attack targeting the Hazara Shia community inBaluchistan – at least 347 Hazaras have been killed since 1999, and that 105 had been killed in 2010. Since September 2010, 395 people have been killed in 40 incidents of sectarian violence. Over a 100 people have been killed inQuettaalone, and 216 have been injured in the provincial capital and Khuzdar. Given the frequency of attacks by sectarian organisations, it would be optimistic to assume that it was the last.

Four days after the massacre in Mastung, three Hazara Shias were shot dead by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants while en route to Sibi. The community was targeted again barely two weeks later on October 4, when a bus carrying 20 passengers was targeted by gunmen nearQuetta. Twelve Hazara Shias were killed in the incident.
The government’s response was characteristically non-committal, with one official stating that the ”pilgrims should have told where they were going.” In addition, the Advocate General of Baluchistan stated that pilgrims should obtain a NOC before leaving for pilgrimage. The irony that pilgrims need an NOC to travel and militants can gun down any number of people at any given time is not lost on anyone.
That the state has failed in protecting its citizens is neither new nor ground-breaking. It is a fact of life that Pakistanis have grown used to, having lost thousands in suicide attacks, assassinations and bomb blasts. However, the fact that the state nurtures these elements and lets them turn on its own is a grave matter. Propped up by the state in the past, the Sipah-e-Sahaba’s militant offshoot, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has claimed responsibility for several of the targeted attacks. On Eid-ul-Fitr, a suicide bomber from the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi killed 12 people and injured 32 as he blew up his explosives-laden car near the Eid prayer congregation. Had he reached the congregation itself, over 20,000 people would have been targeted.
The anti-Shia Sipahe Sahaba Pakistan was formed in 1985 by then leader of Jamiat Ulemae Islam, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi. Its stated goals include declaring Shias a non-Muslim minority like Ahmadis, proscribing their processions during Moharram and imposing its version of shariah law on the state and society. Scholars have linked the rise of the SSP to the Majlise Ahrar movement, which led the anti-Ahmadi agitation and riots in the 1950s and found ‘success’ when Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims in 1974. The movement became a ”prototype” for the anti-Shia movement launched by Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, who wanted Shias to be declared apostates through constitutional means. Scholars also link the Sipah-e-SahabaPakistan’s success and government backing to two external events – the 1979 revolution inIranand the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. General Ziaul Haq, distrustful of the influenceIrancould wield on Pakistani Shias, offered support to hard-line Sunni organisations that now thrive in the country. A 2005 report on the state of sectarianism inPakistanestimates that 5,000 to 6,000 Sipah-e-Sahaba activists have undergone jihadi training.
Lashkare Jhangvi was formed in 1996, after Jhangvi was killed. Its leadership included Riaz Basra, who was himself was killed in 2002 in a police ‘encounter’, and AkramLahori, who is currently in jail. Another prominent leader, Malik Ishaq, was released from jail this August after 14 years. He was accused of killing 70 people in 44 cases, out of which, Ishaq was acquitted in 34 cases and bailed out in 10. Ironically enough, Ishaq also planned to go for religious pilgrimage toSaudi Arabiaafter recently obtaining a passport. However, his plans were deterred as he was detained under the Maintenance of Public Order act a day after the massacre in Mastung.
The case of Malik Ishaq once again raises serious questions about the state abetting militant networks. Ishaq was released from Kot Lakhpat jail in August in a hailstorm of rose petals, vivid scenes similar to those that greeted Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of the late Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, at his court hearing. Following his release, Ishaq gave a number of speeches smacking of bravado. He has little reason to fear given thatPunjabgovernment has provided him with a police escort and his family a stipend, in what can only be described as a macabre welfare program for militants.
Ishaq went on an extensive speaking tour after his release, addressing crowds in Rahim Yar Khan,Lahore, Samundri and Khairpur, among other places. Footage of his rallies features him promising to continue his mission of ‘protecting the finality of the Prophethood (peace be upon him)’ and showing crowds allegedly blasphemous material to invoke them to fight for Islam. Ishaq repeatedly mentioned his pride in the Sipah-e-SahabaPakistan, how his release shows that he was on the guided path and that the ‘agencies’ and government are keeping an eye on him.
Law enforcement agencies had tracked Ishaq’s movements after his release, including his inflammatory speeches and meetings with people listed on the fourth schedule of the Anti Terrorism Act. Detention does not appear to have deterred Ishaq. In a message to his followers, Ishaq stated that he believes the fear of prison, bullets, handcuffs and detentions to be polytheism.
Since its creation, the Lashkare Jhangvi has been implicated in the deaths of hundreds of Shias and Iranian nationals and even tried to assassinate then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999. During the October 2009 siege of the Pakistan Army headquarters inRawalpindi, Ishaq and fellow member of the LeJ Ghulam Rasool Shah, also currently in jail, were reportedly flown in to negotiate with militants. Impunity for the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi implies a level of tolerance the state cannot afford for these groups.
On November 11, 2010, Karachi’s residents living on opposite ends of the city were jolted by the impact of an explosion that leveled the Crime Investigation Department headquarters, killing 20 people and causing extensive damage to the neighbouring living quarters for police officers. The attack came a day after the police had arrested alleged Lashkar-e-Jhangvi members. Sectarian strife fuelled by the organization has had far reaching consequences on the country’s psychosocial fabric. One incident among many others is from Sahiwal,Punjab, where a man had stabbed his 17 year old daughter to death. He had severe differences with his wife, the biggest contention being the wife’s faith: she was Shia, while he was Sunni. Even though his family was Barelvi and believed in the tradition of pirs and mureeds, he had begun to follow the diktat of the Sipae Sahaba. His distraught wife speculated that it may have been his outrage at their children following some Shia religious practices that prompted his brutal attack on their eldest daughter. It is murders like these, and massacres in Mastung, that should finally push the government to fully implement its bans on the Sipahe Sahaba Pakistanand Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
The Munir Commission Report of 1954 presented an exhaustive inquiry examining the events and incitement – with complicity from elements of the state and the press – that led to the anti-Ahmadi riots of1953. The report should be made mandatory reading for government officials to understand the implications of not acting against elements that foment hatred and instigate riots; the importance of the role played by the bureaucracy, district administration and law enforcement agencies to deal with situations; and how important it is to deal with existing threats as legitimate law and order situations, before they turn into full-blown crises.
It highlights a foreboding letter written in 1951as anti-Shia violence was beginning inPunjab. “What is happening now, seems almost a writing on the wall and God help us if we do not stop these ignorant people from cutting each other’s throat and thus bringing comfort and cheer to our enemies.” Another letter sent by the government to deputy commissioners, which stated that while religious communities and sects were free to practice their faith, religious controversies must be discouraged and disorder follows when deputy commissioners do not take timely action. The letter asks, ”Have they not allowed the people to assimilate the poison which was administered to them?”
Fifty-seven years later, it is this question that demands an answer.


17 Oct 2011

Punjab freed 75% of terror suspects
Staff Report


LAHORE – Official data show Punjab courts acquitted 75% of suspects charged with involvement in terrorist activities in the province during the past two decades, The Express Tribune reported October 17.

Since 1990, 800 incidents of terrorism have taken place in Punjab, of which authorities have prosecuted 475. Authorities named 2,300 suspects, of whom 2,200 were arrested in those cases.

Courts acquitted 1,650 of 2,200 arrestees for lack of evidence, media reported.

16 Oct 2011

Judicial relief for LeJ terrorists: A case for rethinking justice – by Ayesha Siddiqa


16 Oct 2011

75 percent of arrested terror suspects get acquitted in Pak’s Punjab province

Three out of every four terrorism suspects arrested in Punjab over the last two decades were set free by the courts, data compiled by the provincial government in Pakistan has revealed.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – Since 1990, there have been 800 incidents of terrorism in Punjab, of which 475 have actually been prosecuted.

A total of 2,300 suspects were named in those cases, and about 2,200 arrested. Of those arrested, about 1,650 (75 percent) were acquitted by the courts due to a lack of evidence against them, the Express Tribune reports.

Public prosecutors, however, claim that the conviction rate was even lower than those numbers suggest. Chaudhry Muhammad Jahangir, Punjab’s chief public prosecutor, said that “terrorism” cases often included simpler crimes like abduction for ransom, which were classified as terrorism because they were mentioned in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.

Jahangir said that conviction rates on actual cases of terrorism were even lower.

He identified three major problems with the prosecution of terrorism cases that led to so many acquittals: lack of witness protection, defective investigations, and lack of forensic and other technology that would aid the investigation process.

Ali Amir Malik, the deputy inspector general of police for investigations, also agreed with Jahangir’s reasoning, adding that the withdrawal of testimonies by witnesses, who are often threatened and intimidated by terrorist groups, are the primary causes for the low conviction rate.


12 Oct 2011

Karachi verdict: Supeme Court’s gift to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi


10 Oct 2011

Headline says it all: Khawaja Sharif to defend Mumtaz Qadri at IHC


10 October 2011

Blood of Shia Muslims flows freely in Pakistan – by Amir Mir


28 Sep 2011

PAKISTAN: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sectarian Impunity

Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

Wednesday, 28-September-2011

On September 20, 2011, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militants shot dead 29 Shias in two separate incidents in Balochistan. In the first incident, a bus carrying 45 Shia pilgrims, travelling from Quetta, the provincial capital, to Taftan (Iran), came under attack in Mastung. About 10 assailants, riding on a twin-cab pick-up and armed with AK-47 rifles and rocket launchers, intercepted the bus, ordered all the passengers out and then opened indiscriminate fire, killing 26 and injuring another five. An hour after the first attack, militants killed another three Shias, who Police said were relatives of victims of the first incident en route to collect their bodies, on the outskirts of Quetta. Claiming the attack, LeJ ‘spokesperson’ Ali Sher Haideri declared that his outfit would continue to target people from the Shia community.
Three days later, on September 23, three Shias were killed and another four injured in an attack on a passenger van on the outskirts of Quetta.
On August 31, 2011, an LeJ suicide bomber had killed at least 11 Shias and injured 22 during Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in a Shiite mosque in Quetta.
According to partial data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management a total of 2,555 sectarian attacks have taken place across Pakistan since 1989, inflicting a total of 3,622 fatalities.
Some of the major attacks (involving three or more fatalities) in 2010-11 include:
July 29, 2011: LeJ militants killed at least seven people, including four Shias, waiting to travel to Mashhad in Iran, at a bus terminal on Saryab Road in Quetta.
May 18, 2011: At least seven Shias, including a passerby, were killed and six others sustained bullet injuries in an attack near the Killi Kamalo area of Quetta.
September 1, 2010: 43 persons were killed and another 230 injured in two suicide attacks and one grenade attack on a Shia procession marking Hazrat Ali’s martyrdom in Lahore. LeJ Al-Alami claimed responsibility for the three attacks, which occurred minutes apart in the Bhaati Gate locality of Lahore.
April 17, 2010: Two burqa-clad suicide bombers targeted a crowd of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) waiting to get registered and receive relief goods at the Kacha Pakka IDP camp on the outskirts of Kohat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), formerly known as North West Frontier Province (NWFP), killing at least 44 and injuring more than 70. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Al-Aalmi faction claimed responsibility for the bombings, and cited the presence of Shias at the IDP camp as the reason for the attack.
April 16, 2010: A suicide bomber blew himself up in an attack inside the Civil Hospital in Quetta, killing 11 persons and injuring 35 others. Unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle killed Arshad Zaidi, the son of the chief of the Shia Conference Balochistan, Syed Ashraf Zaidi. Hundreds of supporters, including Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Nasir Ali Shah and dozens of journalists, rushed to the hospital where the body was lying. The suicide bombing occurred when a large crowd had gathered at the casualty ward. The LeJ claimed that it had carried out the suicide bombing that also injured MNA Shah of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
March 12, 2010: At least 57 persons, including eight soldiers, were killed and more than 90 persons were injured as twin suicide blasts, moments apart from each other, ripped through the Lahore’s RA Bazaar in the cantonment area. The primary target was a Shia Imambargah during Friday prayers. LeJ claimed responsibility for the attack.
Rising sectarianism in Pakistani society has emboldened militant groups that espouse sectarian violence. The primary player, here, is the LeJ, which was formed in 1996, when it formally separated from Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) now known as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). The LeJ aims to transform Pakistan into a Sunni state, primarily through violence. Muhammad Ajmal alias Akram Lahori is the presentSaalar-i-Aala (‘Commander-in-Chief’) of the LeJ. Lahori is currently in Police custody following his arrest from Orangi Town in Karachi on June 17, 2002. Although Lahori officially remains the LeJ chief, Qari Mohammad Zafar is now believed to be the strategic ‘commander’, while operational command is understood to have moved to middle ranking leaders.
The LeJ consists of eight loosely co-ordinated cells spread across Pakistan with independent chiefs for each cell. Headed by Maulana Abdul Khalil, a fugitive militant leader from central Punjab, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalmi (the ‘international’ wing) operates mostly in central parts of Punjab and the tribal areas. The group works in close connection with al Qaeda and its activists have been used as foot soldiers by Arab-dominated terror groups in their plots inside Pakistan. Asian Tigers, another LeJ cell, is dominated by Punjabi militants, though some Pakhtoon militants of the Mehsud tribe are affiliated with it as well. The third cell is Junoodul Hafsa, comprising militants who aim to exact revenge for the storming of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid and its affiliated female seminary, Jamia Hafsa, in a military operation in 2007. The group operates in close coordination with the Ghazi Force, a network named after one of the two clerics of Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, who was killed in the operation. The outfit, led by a former student of Lal Masjid, Maulana Niaz Rahim, operates out of Ghaljo area of the Orakzai Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the adjacent Hangu District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and targets military installations and personnel in parts of KP and upper Punjab, especially Islamabad. The fourth cell affiliated to LeJ is the Punjabi Taliban. Other small cells, which operate under this umbrella outfit, include those commanded by Usman Punjabi, Qari Imran, Amjad Farooqi and Qari Zafar. These cells generally operate within Punjab.
The lethality and operational successes of the LeJ, over the years, are substantially attributed to its multi-cell structure, with each maintaining limited contact with the others. Each sub-group is responsible for carrying out activities in a specific geographic location. Reports indicate that, after each attack, LeJ cadres disperse and subsequently reassemble at the various bases/hideouts to plan future operations.
LeJ’s presence and operations have been reported from locations as varied as Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Multan, Islamabad, Jhang, Khanewal, Layyah, Bhakkar, Sargodha, Rahimyar Khan, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar in Punjab; Orakzai Agency, Bajaur Agency, Parachinar, Kurram Agency, South Waziristan and North Waziristan in FATA; Bannu, Kohat, Chitral, Gilgit and Dera Ismail Khan in KP; Karachi, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Nawabshah, and Mirpur Khas in Sindh; and Mastung and Quetta in Balochistan.
While Shias remain the primary targets of the LeJ, the group has, since 2002, broadened its focus to include other civilian, Government and Western targets. Despite the ban on the group since January 12, 2002, the Pakistani Government has been unable to neutralise its operations. An intelligence agency’s report on August 25, 2011, noted that banned militant organisations, including LeJ, had resumed ‘full-scale public activity’ and had begun recruiting young men from Punjab. Another report forwarded by the Punjab Home Department stated that LeJ had also become more active, particularly after the release of the group’s founder Malik Ishaq in July 2011.
One of the prominent leaders and co-founder of LeJ, Malik Ishaq had been charged in 44 cases, involving the murder of 70 persons, most of them Shias. He was, however, released by the Supreme Court for lack of evidence. Ishaq was suspected to have been involved in the March 3, 2009, attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, but was granted bail on July 14, 2011. Ishaq was arrested in 1997 for a variety of crimes, most of which were of a sectarian nature. Over the years, the cases against him faltered, as many witnesses were too scared to testify. Ishaq was acquitted in 34 out of 44 cases, while, in the remaining 10, including the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team, he had already been granted bail.
Significantly, during his stay in jail he received a stipend from the Punjab Government and, like other key terror suspects, was allowed to use a mobile phone. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed the disbursement of the stipend, but clarified that it was given to Ishaq’s family, not to him, as per orders of the court. Further investigations, however, revealed that there was no such disbursement to the family, nor was there any court order pertaining to the matter.
A US State Department report published on August 31, 2011, observed that Pakistan was incapable of prosecuting terror suspects. It said that, while Pakistan maintained it was committed to prosecuting those accused of terrorism, its Anti-terrorism Court (ATC)’s rulings in 2010 tell a different story, showing that the acquittal rate among suspected terrorists was approximately 75 percent.
Meanwhile, buoyed by his release, Malik Ishaq declared, “We are ready to lay down our lives for the honour of the companions of the Holy Prophet.”
Tariq Ilyas Kyani, an officer at the Lahore Police Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) department, rightly observed, “Terrorist activities did not stop even when [Ishaq] was in captivity.” However, sectarian violence has witnessed a surge since Ishaq’s release. Out of 19 sectarian attacks in 2011, in which 176 persons were killed, seven attacks, resulting in 62 fatalities, have taken place after July 14.
Instead of launching any hard initiatives against the LeJ, the Punjab Government, on September 22, 2011, again placed Malik Ishaq under temporary detention at his home, charging him of stoking Sunni-Shia conflict since his release from prison. The Punjab Government ordered that Ishaq remain at home for 10 days.
Given Islamabad’s lackadaisical approach towards Islamist terrorism in general, and sectarian violence against the country’s minorities, in particular, action against the LeJ has generally been an eye wash, and the present steps hold no promise of reining in the menace of sectarian terror across the country.
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty is a Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi.
Source: South Asia Intelligence Review [SAIR]


27 September 2011:

Three LJ activists acquitted

Jamal Khurshid
Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Sindh High Court on Monday set aside the death sentences of three activists of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in the Imambargah killing case as the prosecution failed to produce incriminating evidence against the defendants.

Abdul Wahab Afghani, Shahnawaz alias Shani and Mohammad Shaukat had been sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) for killing nine people and injuring eight others at the Imambargah Al-Muntazir Al-Mehdi in the Al-Falah area of Karachi on February 22, 2003.

The court had also sentenced them to an aggregate of 30 years in prison and imposed fines for injuring worshipers.

According to the prosecution, the appellants had fired with automatic weapons on the worshippers when the latter were going to the Imambargah for Maghrib prayers.

The appellants counsel contended that the prosecution failed to prove charges against the appellants as there were glaring contradictions in the statements of the prosecution witnesses, including eyewitnesses, in the case.

They questioned the identification parade of the appellants and submitted that it was held against the principles laid down by the superior courts.

They said that there was no independent evidence regarding the recovery of a weapon used in the crime and prayed to the court to set the conviction aside.

The special prosecutor, however, opposed the appeal.

A division bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, after perusal of the evidence and hearing the arguments of the state and the appellants’ counsel, observed that the prosecution relied on the identification parade of the appellants through eyewitnesses, but such identification tests were highly doubtful as the same were not conducted by the magistrates in accordance with the law and principles laid down by the superior courts.

The court observed that the benefit of the slightest doubt had to be extended in favour of the accused; besides, the identification test, the prosecution had no incriminating evidence against the appellants, and the testimonies of the witnesses were doubtful and could not be relied on.

The court, allowing the appeals, set aside the convictions awarded to the appellants by the ATC and acquitted them of charges, ordering their release if not involved in other cases.

OIL TANKERS PARKING CASE: The Supreme Court directed a CDGK appointee for supervising the construction of oil tankers parking terminal to examine the case record so that he might be in a position to express his point of view before taking the exercise if entrusted to him.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Shugafta Bibi, a resident of Clifton Block 1, who had prayed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to order the shifting of the oil tankers’ terminal from the locality.

She had initially sent a letter to the CJP who converted it into a constitutional petition.

The petitioner complained that heavy oil tankers were parked on both sides of the main road in Clifton Block 1 and its surrounding areas.

She submitted that the oil tankers operators had encroached upon streets in Clifton Block 1 and its adjoining areas, causing environmental hazards, besides affecting residents’ privacy as families could not move freely due to vehicles’ activity.

The court had at the previous hearing directed the Sindh government to give 150 acres of land in Zulfiqarabad to the CDGK for setting up an oil tanker terminal.

However, despite the allocation of the land, the terminal could not be constructed due to financial constraints.

The DCO of Karachi, Mohammad Hussain Syed, appeared before the court on a court notice and submitted that PC-I of the project had been completed and the process was under way.

To a court query regarding the appointment of a focal person who could supervise the exercise which was required in the case to bring it to its logical conclusion, he suggested the name of Syed Faisal Saud who might be able to supervise the exercise.

A two-member SC bench, comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, adjourning the matter till September 29, directed Saud to examine the case record so that he might be in a position to express his point of view before taking this exercise if entrusted to him.


15 September 2011

According to General Javed Ashraf Qazi, at least some officers in Pakistan army wanted the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba to be banned right at the onset (in 1980s and early 1990s). However, political governments hesitated from taking strict action against SSP-LeJ terrorists. It is, however,  a fact that SSP-LeJ has close relations with ISI-backed Taliban in Afghanistan which provided safe havens to LeJ-SSP terrorists.

Thousands of innocent Pakistanis (Barelvis, Shias, Ahmadis, Christiasn etc) have been killed by the Taliban and other like-minded jehadi groups such as:

Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP)
Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan
Harkatul Jehadul Islami
Jaish-e- Mohammad


4 Sep 2011

Why Can’t We Keep Terrorists In Jail?
September 4th, 2011
by Mahmood Adeel

A new report in a British newspaper terms Pakistan ‘incapable’ of prosecuting terrorists. The report makes this claim based on a new US State Department report, so it is sure to be dismissed as evidence of American anti-Pakistan propaganda. But we should take this claim seriously, not because the Americans are saying it, but because of who else is.

I wrote last year about our topsy-turvy justice system in which terrorists have more rights than honest citizens. I wrote this piece after a report in Daily Times found that 75 per cent of anti-terrorism cases were acquitted.

Whenever there’s an acquittal, like the revolving door that Hafiz Saeed uses to get in and out of jail, militant sympathisers say, ‘if there was evidence, they would have convicted so he must be innocent’. In a properly functioning judiciary, this would be true. But anyone who believes that Pakistan has a properly functioning judiciary probably lives in UK or Dubai and has never actually had to deal with Pakistani courts.

Just to play the ‘devils advocate’, let’s assume they are right. The fact that there are 75 per cent acquittals means that one of two institutions is failing badly – either the courts or the police. If the courts are properly functioning and all these innocents are being brought up on terrorism charges with no evidence, why are the police arresting the wrong people? And what can we do to improve the police competencies so that they start arresting the right ones?

But let’s also consider the possibility that the police are arresting the right people, and that revolving doors for terrorists are built into the courts. I suggest that we consider this not because the US State Department says it’s a problem, but because China does. As I noted before, Chinese media reports that militants are getting acquittals by threatening witnesses, the police and courts themselves.

Militants groups in Pakistan are being proven so strong that they manage the acquittal of their colleagues from cases and proceedings against them in courts by threatening the families of judges, witnesses and police officers, local media reported on Tuesday.


“This is a common practice in Pakistan, not only Taliban even small criminal groups use these tricks to get their friends free from the courts, when there is no proof or witness, the court will have to free them,” said Khalid Mahmood, a former police office in Punjab Province.

“Now in some cases, judges’ names are kept secret and they hear the case proceeding in jail with covered faces to avoid any recognition by the accused,” Khalid told Xinhua.

Xinhua is China’s official state media which represents the official line of the Chinese government.

I said last year that for honest citizens who only want to get some small amount of justice in their lives, the wait can be forever. For militants, though, it is always a speedy trial and ‘get out of jail free’. What kind of a topsy-turvy legal system is it that gives more rights to terrorists than to honest citizens?

It’s time to stop the revolving doors that spin terrorists in and out of the courts. Not because America says so or China says so, but because our inability or unwillingness to prosecute terrorists results in the deaths of innocent people. Seal the revolving door. No more excuses.


1 Sep 2011

Sept 1: Pakistan’s legal system is almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists, according to a US State Department report.

“While Pakistan”s law enforcement community continued to pledge to prosecute those responsible for terrorist acts inside Pakistan, a 2010 review by the United States of Pakistan”s Anti-Terrorism Court rulings revealed that Pakistan remained plagued by an acquittal rate of approximately 75 percent,” the State Department said in its annual report on global terrorism.

The review, in conjunction with information provided by Pakistani law enforcement partners, painted a picture of a legal system almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists.

“The review determined that the accused in numerous high-profile terrorism incidents involving US victims had all been acquitted by the Pakistani legal system,” the report said.

It complained that Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Bill 2010, which proposes 25 amendments, including provisions that broaden the definition of terrorism, expand the authority of law enforcement agencies investigating terrorist incidents, authorize detention of subjects for 90 days before presenting them before a court, and allow increased electronic surveillance and wiretapping, had not progressed in the country”s National Assembly.

The US Department of Justice continued to offer assistance to the Government of Pakistan to improve its existing counterterrorism laws, the report added.

The criticisms are contained in the State Department”s `Country Reports on Terrorism 2010′ published in August. (ANI)


1 Sep 2011

Pakistani courts let 3 out of every 4 terror suspects go: US State Dept
September 1, 2011

Report says that Pakistan has failed to ban terrorist groups, courts release 3 out of 4 suspects. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

LONDON: A US State Department report published last week said that Pakistan was incapable of prosecuting terror suspects, since three in four defendants are acquitted.
According to a report in The Telegraph, the US State Department’s 2010 report criticized its frontline ally in the war on terror saying it had had failed to outlaw militant Islamic terror groups, since they escaped bans by changing names.
It said that while Pakistan maintained it was committed to prosecuting those accused of terrorism, its Anti-Terrorism Court’s (ATC) rulings last year tell a different story showing that Pakistan’s acquittal rate of prosecuting suspected terrorists was approximately 75%.
The report further said that Islamabad had not closed loopholes which allowed terrorist groups and criminals to launder money (hawala), also mentioning former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s unresolved case as an example of how the investigative methods had to improve to collect better evidence, since the post assassination footage clearly showed that the crime scene in Rawalpindi was hosed down before evidence collection.
The report complains that Pakistan’s ‘weak implementation’ of a UN Security Council resolution which lists banned terrorist organisations remained a concern.
Wikileaks cables released earlier also showed that many of the more than 1,000 recently released US embassy cables relating to Pakistan speak of Pakistan’s battle against religious extremism and militancy, and the inability to being suspects to justice.
While some of the cables show concern on the trends observed by US diplomats, others simply relay what was being reported in the Pakistani media without comment.
In recent years, courts have yet to issue a verdict on a terrorism case or have released many terror suspects for lack of evidence, including the controversial Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s Ameer Prof Hafiz Muhammed Saeed.
The report comes amid deteriorating relations between the two countries and continuing anger in India at the slow progress in Pakistan’s prosecution of a number of alleged terrorist leaders charged with plotting the 2008 Mumbai massacre. Six Americans were among the 166 victims.


Ishtiaer Hussain

It is easy for our judges to blame police, intelligence agencies or prosecution for problems with the conviction of terror suspects. They have problems with accepting sophisticated forensic and technical evidence for prosecuting terrorists (just because such evidence is typically put together by intelligence agencies and our judges don’t trust them). Common people are too afraid to come forward and testify against terrorists in courts for obvious reasons. Our judges usually don’t accept the testimonies of police and intelligence personnel in the prosecution of terrorists. Judges also typically ignore all circumstancial evidence in cases involving terrorism. (Just look at the case of Anjum Aqeel, who is absolved of the case of breaking the jail and fleeing from police custody just because of “lack of evidence” when the whole of Pakistan watched everything live on their TV sets). Or just look at the case of Malik Ishaq who is the alleged killer of about 70 innocent people in sectarian violence and there is no shortage of authentic eye-witnesses and circumstantial evidence against him. But our worthy courts let him out on bail (may be, for killing more innocents). Now tell me how could we effectively prosecute terrorists?


Eid present to Pakistani establishment! They can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. Time to bring about some positive steps. The independent judiciary is too busy in political appointments and not convicting the terrorists.

Our system works! 25% are prosecuted. Those indulging in acts of violence inside Pakistan are Indians and US agents – easy to prosecute – that is the good news!
Others – the 75%, are freedom fighters – plenty durable and always evergreen. They are always freeing us from Indians, US, each other and, mostly the innocent us. They are never tried – that is better than the good news above!
With so much good news on this auspicious occasion, onwards we charged.
Glory to the left of us, glory to the right of us,
Generals to the side of us and judges behind us
into the valley of strategic depth we charged.

These 75% Freedom fighters are not only freeing innocent people from Indians and Americans but have managed to free 35000 innocent Pakistanis of their life as well. We will keep on denying and they will keep on killing us. And why shouldn’t they! They know will we never blame them for all the bloodshed and if by mistake they are arrested the courts will set them free to continue their carnage. Remember the judges have the same feeling about these terrorist as the majority of us…. delusional.

31 Aug 2011

75 pc acquittal rate in Pak terror trials: US report

PranabDhalSamanta : New Delhi, Wed Aug 31 2011

In another blow to Indian hopes for an effective trial by Pakistan in the 26/11 case, the US has officially assessed that the Pakistan legal system was “almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists” and for the first time worked out a high-profile acquittal rate of about 75 per cent in such trials.

Disclosing this in its set of annual country reports on terrorism earlier this month, the US State Department has come out strongly against Pakistan for not taking credible actions on the terror front including acting on US designated groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. It may be noted that LeT operations chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and communications head Zarar Shah are among those facing trial in Pakistan’s anti-terror courts for masterminding the Mumbai attack.

“While Pakistan’s law enforcement community continued to pledge to prosecute those responsible for terrorist acts inside Pakistan, a 2010 review by the United States of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court rulings revealed that Pakistan remained plagued an acquittal rate of approximately 75 per cent. The review, in conjunction with information provided by Pakistani law enforcement partners, painted a picture of a legal system almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists.”

While affirming that its agencies were specifically monitoring the developments in the Mumbai case as well as the trial of the three persons held for assisting Faisal Shahzad, who attempted to bomb Times Square, the US has slammed Pakistan’s dismal record even in cases involving American citizens. “The review determined that the accused in numerous high-profile terrorism incidents involving US victims had all been acquitted by the Pakistani legal system.”


31 Aug 2011

Pakistan ‘incapable’ of prosecuting terror suspects

Pakistan is incapable of prosecuting terror suspects, according to a US State Department report which reveals that three in four defendants are acquitted.

By Dean Nelson5:01PM BST 31 Aug 2011

The report paints a damning portrait of the key United States ally in the war on terror and criticises Islamabad’s failure to outlaw militant Islamic terror groups which escape bans by changing their names.
Islamabad had not closed loopholes which allow criminal gangs to launder funds for terrorist groups and had yet to sufficiently improve its police investigation methods to collect better evidence from crime scenes. Film footage of the scene of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s 2007 assassination in Rawalpindi being hosed down inspired claims of an official cover-up.
The report comes amid deteriorating relations between the two countries and continuing anger in India at the slow progress in Pakistan’s prosecution of a number of alleged terrorist leaders charged with plotting the 2008 Mumbai massacre. Six Americans were among the 166 victims.
The criticisms are contained in the State Department’s 2010 Country Reports on Terrorism, published last week.
It found that while Pakistan maintained it was committed to prosecuting those accused of terrorism, a study of its Anti-Terrorism Court’s rulings last year disclosed “that Pakistan remained plagued by an acquittal rate of approximately 75 per cent”, and a legal system “almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists”.

It complained that a new anti-terror bill, which would allow its security agencies to hold suspects for 90 days before bringing them to court and give them a freer hand to use electronic surveillance had not progressed in the country’s National Assembly.
Although Islamabad had increased pressure on money-launders and unofficial ‘hawala’ money transfer agents, “deficiencies remained,” the report found. “Notably, the criminalisation of the financing of terrorist acts committed against foreign governments and international organisations was ambiguous, as was the criminalisation of financing groups that have not been explicitly banned by the government or designated by the UN,” it stated.
Pakistan’s “weak implementation” of a UN Security Council resolution which lists banned terrorist organisations remained a concern.
The report was released as a suicide car bomb yesterday killed at least 11 people and wounded 22 others celebrating Eid in a Shiite Muslim area of the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta.


31 August 2011

Pakistani legal system incapable to prosecuting terrorists: US

Asserting that anti-terrorism courts of Pakistan had an acquittal rate of 75 percent, the United States has said that Islamabad’s legal system is almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists, including those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

“While Pakistan’s law enforcement community continued to pledge to prosecute those responsible for terrorist acts inside Pakistan, a 2010 review by the United States of Pakistan’s anti-terrorism court rulings revealed that Pakistan remained plagued by an acquittal rate of approximately 75 per cent, the State Department said in its recent annual report on global terrorism.

“The review, in conjunction with information provided by Pakistani law enforcement partners, painted a picture of a legal system almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists,” said the report released on 18th August.

As such, the US does not appear to be having high hopes in the court case related to the Mumbai terrorist attack, which it is closely monitoring as six Americans were killed in this terrorist attack by Pakistan-based LeT terrorists.

It determined that “the accused in numerous high-profile terrorism incidents involving US victims had all been acquitted by the Pakistani legal system”.

The report said US officials continued to monitor court proceedings involving high-profile terrorist attacks, “such as the cases involving seven Pakistanis currently on trial for the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans; and the three Pakistanis on trial for assisting Faisal Shahzad with the attempted May 1, 2010 bombing of Times Square.”

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation has assisted with the respective prosecutions,” the annual report on global terrorism said.

Noting that Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Bill 2010, proposed on 28th July, 2010, remained before parliament, the report said it proposes 25 amendments to Pakistan’s original legislation, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.

The amendments included provisions that broaden the definition of terrorism, expand the authority of law enforcement agencies investigating terrorist incidents, authorize detention of subjects for 90 days before presenting them before a court, and allow increased electronic surveillance and wiretapping.

The US State Department said Pakistan continued to cooperate in regional and international counterterrorism forums, however, India-Pak counterterrorism cooperation was lacking in 2010.

In January, the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran agreed on a roadmap to confront jointly the challenges of violent extremism and terrorism facing the region by signing the Islamabad Declaration, which was described as a guide to stability, security, and development in the region through mutual cooperation, the report said.


22 Augu 2011

Trying terrorists: New law proposed to counter acquittals for lack of evidence

By Jamshed Bhagwan

Published: August 22, 2011

Witness protection, proximity of jails and court also under consideration.
PESHAWAR: Under a new law proposed to try terrorists apprehended by security forces and intelligence agencies, two western models will be used, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The new law, said a high-ranking security official, will ensure swift justice in terrorism cases, which are currently tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. A number of cases are disposed of due to lack of evidence, such as that of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi member Malik Ishaq who was released last month.
The new ways include the Sicilian Model and the American Witness Protection Act, which will be applied to Pakistan’s legal system for trying militants who pose a threat to people who testify in terrorism cases or are part of the legal process.
The Sicilian model, which was used to try members of the Italian mafia, will be applied because of lack of witnesses. “According to this model, name of the judge hearing the case will be kept confidential and will be referred to only in numbers. The person standing trial will not be allowed to see the person heading the prosecution, the prosecutor or the witness,” the official explained.
He said that new jails and courts will also be established for people who are considered a ‘security threat’. “There is a high possibility that the jail and court will be in the same compound,” he said.
Another problem faced in trying dangerous militants is concealing the identity of witnesses.
“The witness protection plan of the American Civil War will be utilised for safety of witnesses. We have also proposed amendments in the witness law,” said the official.
The procedural process is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will enable law enforcement agencies to try high-profile militants such as Muslim Khan, Maulvi Omar, Commander Mahmud and others.
An estimated 3,000 militants are under custody, which is more than the capacity that the jails are designed for. It has also overburdened security arrangements.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2011.


18 August 2011

Reviewing national security: Govt to plug gaps in terror prosecution
By Kamran Yousaf

Published: August 18, 2011

Defence Committee voices reservations over ‘faulty prosecution system’ that allows suspects to be acquitted. PHOTO: SANA/FILE
The government will look to plug ‘loopholes’ in the existing criminal justice system to ensure that terror suspects do not take advantage of weak prosecution – a problem that has given rise to immense concern among the security apparatus of the country.
The oft-cited matter was debated at the high-powered Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and attended by foreign, interior and defence ministers as well as the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff and the three services chiefs on Wednesday.
The DCC is the highest forum addressing matters relating to Pakistan’s national security.
The meeting voiced reservations over the ‘faulty prosecution system’ that allowed several terror suspects to be acquitted by courts, officials familiar with the proceedings told The Express Tribune.
The country’s security establishment has also long been suggesting a review of the existing criminal justice system in order to bring terror suspects to the book.
Though the country has special anti-terror laws, suspects caught by security agencies for their involvement in terrorist attacks are rarely convicted.
Over two dozen suspected terrorists have been acquitted of the charge in the past six months by the trial courts in Rawalpindi and Islamabad alone.
The low conviction rate is attributed to inadequate legislation coupled with weak prosecution.
An official statement issued after the DCC meeting quoted Prime Minister Gilani as saying that consultations, cooperation and coordination between all arms of the government – most notably among the intelligence agencies and law enforcing bodies – was a pre-requisite for ensuring national security.
“We need to clearly identify the threat posed by terrorism including the underlining factors such as ideological and motivational, funding, weapon supply, training, organisational support for terrorism groups and those aiding and abetting the terrorists.”
The prime minister said that the intelligence and security agencies have been tested to the limits.
The ministry of interior gave a presentation on the internal security situation to the meeting’s participants.
The committee also decided to strengthen mechanisms between the provinces and federal government on security issues.
It was also decided to establish a National Crime Database at the centre and the Ministry of Interior has been directed to make it functional on an urgent basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2011.


17 Aug 2011

Court summons suspected TTP commander after release on bail

Published: August 17, 2011

The court had earlier ordered his release from jail due to lack of evidence against him. PHOTO: FILE
KARACHI: A court in Karachi summoned on Wednesday alleged Taliban commander Fazal Mehsud, a day after releasing him on bail.
The Crime Investigation Department arrested Mehsud from the Kemari area in Karachi on Tuesday.
According to Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) CID Operations Fayyaz Khan, Mehsud was associated with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan faction.
The alleged Taliban commander was a close associate of the head of Tehree-e-Taliban Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud and Commander Faiz Muhammad.
SSP Fayyaz Khan said that during the interrogation, the suspect revealed that Baitullah Mehsud had visited Karachi a few years ago for treatment.
He also claimed that Baitullah Mehsud stayed with him at his residence in Karachi.
The suspect is allegedly involved in fundraising for the TTP and other terrorist activities in Waziristan.
However, the court ordered his release from jail on Tuesday night due to lack of evidence against him.


29 July 2011

Questions for pro-Jihadi judiciary and its apologists


29 July 2011

A Most Dangerous ManThe release of Malik Ishaq, a highly-connected terrorist, speaks well for no one.

By Khaled Ahmed

Arif Ali / AFP

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on July 15 released on bail Malik Ishaq, leader and founder of Al Qaeda-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, on grounds of “lack of evidence.” The man had been facing a number of cases at the antiterrorism court in Lahore charging him with hundreds of murders. He remained in jail for 14 years while evidence against him gradually decayed and disappeared—a pattern traced by terrorists in custody, none of whom has so far been punished in a country crawling with terrorist organizations.

On his release, he was received outside Kot Lakhpat prison by leaders of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, banned in 2001 as a terrorist organization but now—after being renamed harmlessly to Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat—resting in a legal grey area because of an appeal lying with the higher judiciary. The Sahaba leader heading the welcome party was Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi—recalling an anti-Shia 1980s polemicist who was assassinated in Karachi—who came in handy when the current Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, called on Ishaq to talk to the terrorists who had attacked Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi in 2009. The Army chief’s personal plane had carried Ishaq to Rawalpindi, while another plane belonging to the ISI chief, Gen. Shuja Pasha, carried Ludhianvi.

Sipah-e-Sahaba’s welcome party was hardly a dozen strong, but by the time it reached the border of South Punjab, the numbers began to swell. If in Okara it was a few hundred, and a thousand in Khanewal, it was nearly 5,000 in Bahawalpur—the city of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s sister terrorist organization, Jaish-e-Muhammad. When Ishaq arrived in his village of Tarinda Sawai Khan in Rahim Yar Khan, the crowd out to greet him was actually 15,000-strong, as claimed by a Sahaba publication.

Their newspaper, Daily Ummat Karachi, in its July 16 edition said Ishaq had been freed without any “secret deal” and that he had rededicated himself to war against the proliferation of “insulters” of the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the Internet as he now fought under the flag of Sipah-e-Sahaba after disbanding Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. How far Jhangvi will be disbanded after appearing on the flag of Al Qaeda’s 313 Brigade (which includes Jandullah and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) is yet to be seen. One reason Ishaq has joined Sahaba is that the banning order against it is on hold and this takes him away from the mischief of the antiterrorism law.

According to the publication, Ishaq was wanted in 43 cases, involving 70 murders, out of which he had been acquitted in 37 and awarded bail in eight. The last case, involving planning—from prison—the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009 has concluded in another bail at the Supreme Court after which he has been released. Earlier resistance to release by the Punjab government had required Lahore to pay for the monthly sustenance of Ishaq’s family. This time Lahore let him go. Daily Ummat says that, because Punjab was not releasing Ishaq, Sipah-e-Sahaba decided to reach an agreement with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on electoral support in Bhakkar from where the latter was elected unopposed with the help of Ishaq’s brother.

Arriving back in South Punjab, Ishaq has consolidated the power of the hard-line sectarian organizations emanating from the state policy of jihad. He is ranked at par with the chief of Jaish-e-Muhammad, Maulana Masud Azhar, famous for his companionship with Osama bin Laden and his linkage with Omar Sheikh, who contributed to the killing of The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002. Sheikh, too, has been charged with planning terrorist acts—including against then President Pervez Musharraf—from his prison cell in Sindh. Azhar and Sheikh were both sprung from an Indian jail in 1999 and released in Kandahar, after the hijacking of an Indian airliner in Nepal, as a result of a deal facilitated by a Pakistan-dominated Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Ishaq headed a union of shopkeepers in Rahim Yar Khan when he fell under the thrall of Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the founder of the Shia-apostatizing Sipah-e-Sahaba in 1982 after his contacts with Arab princes enjoying extraterritorial hunting rights in Rahim Yar Khan made him strong. Against the background of an Arab-Iranian confrontation in the region, Sahaba flourished financially, too. The other devotees of Maulana Jhangvi were Jaish-e-Muhammad’s Azhar and Riaz Basra, who was killed in a “police encounter” in 2002 because “no judge could sentence him.” Basra and Ishaq founded Laskhar-e-Jhangvi.

After Ishaq was arrested in 1997 in the wake of the killing of five Iranian Air Force trainees in Rawalpindi, Basra threatened the government with dire consequences unless he was released. Meanwhile, another Lashkar-e-Jhangvi commander, Akram Lahori, went on killing Shias in Karachi, which according to Ishaq was much easier because the Jhangvi cadre there was better trained than in the Punjab. (Training was received in Al Qaeda camps in Surobi, Afghanistan.) Facing trial in Multan, Lahori, responsible for the killing of such well-known Karachi figures as businessman Shaukat Mirza and prominent Shia doctors, was indicted in 2010 after living comfortably in jail for seven years. Witnesses against him in Multan continue to die or disappear. Witnesses against Ishaq also have a hard time surviving, as in the case brought against him by a Shia citizen, Fida Husain Ghalvi, charging that Ishaq had killed 10 of his family.

The Punjab government has made a deal with Sipah-e-Sahaba after seeing its growing clout in South Punjab. One well-known episode was recorded by jihadist newspaper Islam: “Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah visited Jhang and paid his respects at the tomb of the founder of the greatest banned sectarian-terrorist Deobandi organization, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi. He led a delegation of the [Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)] which also included parliamentary secretary Iftikhar Baloch and party M.P.A. from Jhang, Sheikh Yaqub. He also visited the tombs of other Sipah-e-Sahaba martyr-leaders like Maulana Isarul Qasimi and Allama Azam Tariq.”

Threatened communities have reacted predictably. Shia outfit Imamia Students Organization issued the following statement: “The planned release of terror kingpin Malik Ishaq who is also the co-founder of banned organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, with the blessing of Punjab government’s weak prosecution and the court’s blind decision is likely to fuel the ruthless killings of Shias across the country.” Sri Lanka, which hoped to get justice for the attack on its cricket team, and Iran, whose cultural consul Muhammad Ali Rahimi was allegedly killed by Ishaq in Multan in 1997, will also be offended. His release was badly timed. President Asif Ali Zardari’s paid a goodwill visit to Iran the same week.

When the Iranian consul in Lahore Sadeq Ganji was assassinated in 1990, the strong presence of Sipah-e-Sahaba in politics prevented the due process of law to unfold. At the Lahore High Court, where the killers faced trial, many judges retired or were elevated before the court was able to pass the obvious death sentence. Sahaba wanted to pay diyat or blood money for the killer it wanted spared, and even approached Iran in this respect. The power of apostatizing sectarian elements has redoubled in 2011 and “legal” political parties have to align with them to survive in certain regions. All it takes is a renaming of the banned organization.

Ahmed is a director at the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) in Lahore.


23 July 2011

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader provided police guards
by Pakistan on Friday, July 22, 2011

Two police men have been assigned security duties at the residence of Malik Ishaq, recently released from a Lahore prison.

Rahim Yar Khan district police officer Sohail Tajik told The Express Tribune that the guards were deployed at the Mohallah Islam Nagar house of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader in view of the threat posed by a large number of people visiting him everyday He said more officials would be deployed to the place if the need arose. The LeJ has been declared a terrorist organisation and banned.

A Rahim Yar Khan police security branch official speaking on condition of anonymity said four guards of a private security company were also performing security duties at the place.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) Punjab president Shamasur Rehman Muavia expressed satisfaction over security arrangements at Ishaq’s home.

Ishaq has been acquitted in 34 of the 44 cases against him involving killing of 70 people, most of them belonging to the Shia sect. He has been released on bail in the remaining 10 cases, including the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.

‘Prisons will not stop our mission’

“Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is not a terrorist outfit. It was set up to ensure proper respect for the companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH),” Malik Ishaq said on Friday.

He was speaking to a delegation of clerics belonging to the Majlis Ahrar-i-Islam at his residence. He said foreign powers were responsible for terrorism in the country. He said these powers using as front an organisation named International Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

He said it was this organisation that had been accepting responsibility for terrorist attacks in the country and not the LeJ he had belonged to. Criticising Interior Minister Rehman Malik for accusing LeJ of terrorist acts, he said Malik appeared to be a spokesperson for the ILJ and not the federal government.

Ishaq also said he was committed to continuing his fight mission of defending the companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) against slander and irreverence. He said he would not abandon the mission even if he was again jailed for it.

“Our struggle will continue from the platform of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat,” he said. He said hundreds of LeJ workers had laid down their lives for the cause.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2011.

21 July 2011

Let’s blame the prosecution: On urban liberals’ reaction to Malik Ishaq’s release

Shahid Saeed, a PMA graduate, is currently under training by urban fake liberals of Pakistan
Note: For background reading, please read these articles:
Thank you, ISI-backed Supreme Court, for releasing Malik Ishaq

Malik Ishaq wielded clout in jail; helped Pak army

First the sorrow, now the fear

It was quite educating (but not surprising) to see Pakistan’s urban liberal elite (also known as darbari liberals) reaction to the release of Malik Ishaq by ISI-backed Supreme Court of Pakistan. Instead of blaming the most powerful institution of Pakistan, i.e, Pakistan army and the judges who remain subservient to Pakistan army’s wishes, they found it convenient to blame the police and the prosecution for the release of Sipah-e-Sahaba terrorist Malik Ishaq. At least three urban liberals, namely Shahid Saeed, Ayesha Tammy Haq and Mehmal Sarfraz, were seen on Twitter blaming poor prosecution.

Pakistani tweeple and blogger Shahid Saeed is a graduate of Pakistan Military Academy Kakool. Here is my open letter to him which offers an exemplar of my response to Pakistani urban liberals’ reaction to Malik Ishaq’s release.

TwitPost: An Open Letter to @shahidsaeed


Sir, I am an avid reader of your posts and tweets on Pakistan politics. I hope you will take my criticism in this TwitPost in a constructive manner. I don’t mean any personal offence to you.

I have always noticed your “harsh on politicians, soft on GHQ stance” which is amply documented elsewhere.

I also notice that you operate in a tight network of ex-cadets and soldiers (including yourself), urban elite and their middle class aspirants.

The following few lines may help you reconsider your position and stance on certain issues.

Please read these tweets from bottom to top. Then read the Dawn article.



Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
@cpyala @tammyhaq @kaalakawaa @shahidsaeed What witness & what prosecution when State (ISI) creates & protects SSP terrorists! is it a joke?
14 Jul

Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
Well, Mr @shahidsaeed instead of blaming the police “pathetic investigation”, discover some honesty… and blame ISI-SCP. Shame!

shaista_azar Shaista Azar
@Mehmal An apologist to judiciary @Shahidsaeed came with same arguments when#Mukhtaran rapists were acquitted

Mehmal Mehmal Sarfraz
@JunaidGhumman yeah right. Read @shahidsaeed‘s tweet. He’s not innocent. The prosecution didn’t do their job
14 Jul Favorite Retweet Reply

tammyhaq Ayesha Tammy Haq
@SamadK @shahidsaeed @Ali_Abbas_Zaidi if you don’t prosecute them they will walk free, prosecution is states job. State not interested?
14 Jul

kursed Abdullah Saad
Twitter logic; Judge=Prosecution. RT @shahidsaeed Evidence in SL team case against Ishaq so filmsy, hardened judge would have acquitted him.

shahidsaeed Shahid Saeed
Evidence in SL team case against Ishaq was so filmsy, even hardened judge would have acquitted him. pathetic investigation


Dawn article:

“it is very surprising that one of the Supreme Court judges who released Malik Ishaq on bail last week scolded the prosecution and said the case was weak. The same judge, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was part of a Lahore Hight Court bench that had asked the police to close down cases of hate speech and incitement to violence, against Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. The bench would simply not accept that Jamaatud Dawa was another name for Lashkar-e-Taiba, because the new name was not present on a certain list.”


There are still some people who don’t want to name and shame ISI-SCP as accomplices in continued massacres of the Shia, Baloch, Hazara etc in Pakistan. Instead, they blame poor prosecution. They must reconsider their stance.


20 July 2011

Lack of Evidence , Judicial Incompetence or Promotion of Terrorism

July 2011 : Just a couple of days back a Terrorist by the name of Malik Ishaq was released from jail. Malik Ishaq was accused not only of being the chief of the banned sectarian organization, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, but of killing 70 people (almost all Shias) in 44 separate instances of culpable homicide. Most recently, he was alleged to have been involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.
The influential co-founder of a Sipah-e-Sahaba breakaway group Lashkar e Jhangvi now linked with al Qaeda and the Taliban received a stipend from the PML (N) Punjab government while he was in jail, which was even confirmed by Rana Sanaullah the Close Relative of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudary and like other key terror suspects on the Government list of Favorites, was allowed to use a mobile phone.
Point to ponder is, the revelation that Malik Ishaq’s family received a stipend from Punjab government while he was in jail. According to Rana Sanaullah, the learned law minister for the Punjab government, the stipend was paid on court orders. This newspaper, however, reports that “it was revealed that nor was there any such disbursements during former president Pervez Musharraf’s tenure, nor was there any court order pertaining to the matter”.It looks to be only the Pay Back of Billion of Rupees which Nawaz Shariff use to receive from Osama Bin Laden , as he was his favourite and His government was also backed by the same establishment , which supported and sponsored these Terror Networks.
Malik Ishaq had told an Urdu daily in October 1997 that he was involved in the killing of 102 people. He was arrested the same year, and eventually charged with 70 of those murders in 44 different cases, including master minding the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009, while being in the Jail. Last week, the Supreme Court released him because of “lack of evidence”.
Among those who fear the consequences is Fida Hussain Ghalvi, a key witness in a case in which Ishaq was accused of killing 12 members of a Shia family during a Majlis in 1997. When Ghalvi and three other men identified Ishaq, he told them in front of a judge that “dead men can’t talk”. Five witnesses and three of their relatives were killed during the trial. Ishaq was acquitted because of “lack of evidence”.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. A more remarkable case involving the anti-Shia leader from southern Punjab was the bombing of an Iranian culture centre in Multan, also in 1997. Eight people were killed. When investigating officer Ijaz Shafi persuaded two witnesses to appear in court, his car was sprayed with 13 bullets. Anti-Terrorism Court judge Bashir Ahmed Bhatti convicted Ishaq but the Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2006 because of “lack of evidence”.
In March 2007, the same judge, scheduled to hear another case against Malik Ishaq, was on his way to the court when a remote-controlled bicycle bomb exploded near his car, killing his driver and two policemen. Ishaq was charged with planning the bombing. Two years later, the prosecution’s witnesses suddenly turned hostile. Ishaq was acquitted in April 2009, because of “lack of evidence”.
In that context, it is very surprising that one of the Supreme Court judges who released Malik Ishaq on bail last week scolded the prosecution and said the case was weak. The same judge, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was part of a Lahore Hight Court bench that had asked the police to close down cases of hate speech and incitement to violence, against Jamaat ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. The bench would simply not accept that Jamaatud Dawa was another name for Lashkar-e-Taiba, because the new name was not present on a certain list.
Let us recap then. Malik Ishaq is alleged to be the leader of a banned sectarian organisation. He is alleged to have killed 70 people. He is alleged to have had eight witnesses murdered so as to avoid conviction. He is alleged to have masterminded the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, an attack which perhaps more than any other instance is responsible for Pakistan’s status as a pariah state. And the popularly elected government of the largest province in Pakistan — the one also responsible for the criminal prosecution of Malik Ishaq — not only paid a monthly stipend to the family of this alleged mass murderer while he was in jail but then lied about the reasons for doing so. Which is a Shame ful and in other words promotion of sectarian hatred in Pakistan?
A high ranking intelligence official speaking on the condition of anonymity said that Ishaq had helped intelligence agencies in the past.
Later, when he started to think of himself as ‘too powerful,’ the agencies broke off ties with him, the official said.
Ishaq also provided vital information regarding the network of Aqeel alias Dr Usman, the alleged mastermind of the GHQ attack who is currently in custody, the official added.While he was even flown by the agencies to negotiate with the terrorists , as they have taken Army Personnel hostages at the time of attack at GHQ.
Ishaq was received upon release by chief of Millat-e-Islamia (MeI) / Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) Maulana Muhammad Ludhianvi , the new names of the Old Banned Terrorist Organisation Sipah e Sahaba Pakistan.
“Ishaq has now joined SSP/MeI/ASWJ and revoked his membership of LeJ,” said the SSP/ MeI/ASWJ spokesperson Shamsur Rehman Mavia.
“He was therefore received by the ASWJ chief today, who gave the security bond money and the guarantee that Ishaq will now continue his struggle for Islam using peaceful means,” Mavia said.
The Punjab government has been given the same guarantee, he said,


19 July 2011

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the “lack of evidence”
By Harris Bin Munawar

Supporters of Malik Ishaq who sits in a vehicle, a leader of the banned Sunni Muslim extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, receive their leader upon his release outside a jail in Lahore, Pakistan on Thursday, July 14, 2011. –AP Photo
We are ready to lay down lives (jaan bhee hazir hai) for the honour of the companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Malik Ishaq said after he was freed from jail amid Kalashnikov-wielding supporters on a Land Cruiser motorcade. He did not specify whose lives he was talking about. But the Shia know.

The influential co-founder of a Sipah-e-Sahaba breakaway group now linked with al Qaeda and the Taliban received a stipend from the Punjab government while he was in jail, and like other key terror suspects, was allowed to use a mobile phone.

Malik Ishaq had told an Urdu daily in October 1997 that he was involved in the killing of 102 people. He was arrested the same year, and eventually charged with 70 of those murders in 44 different cases, including the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009. Last week, the Supreme Court released him because of “lack of evidence”.

Among those who fear the consequences is Fida Hussain Ghalvi, a key witness in a case in which Ishaq was accused of killing 12 members of a Shia family during a Majlis in 1997. When Ghalvi and three other men identified Ishaq, he told them in front of a judge that “dead men can’t talk”. Five witnesses and three of their relatives were killed during the trial. Ishaq was acquitted because of “lack of evidence”.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. A more remarkable case involving the anti-Shia leader from southern Punjab was the bombing of an Iranian culture centre in Multan, also in 1997. Eight people were killed. When investigating officer Ijaz Shafi persuaded two witnesses to appear in court, his car was sprayed with 13 bullets. Anti-Terrorism Court judge Bashir Ahmed Bhatti convicted Ishaq but the Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2006 because of “lack of evidence”.

In March 2007, the same judge, scheduled to hear another case against Malik Ishaq, was on his way to the court when a remote-controlled bicycle bomb exploded near his car, killing his driver and two policemen. Ishaq was charged with planning the bombing. Two years later, the prosecution’s witnesses suddenly turned hostile. Ishaq was acquitted in April 2009, because of “lack of evidence”.

In that context, it is very surprising that one of the Supreme Court judges who released Malik Ishaq on bail last week scolded the prosecution and said the case was weak. The same judge, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was part of a Lahore Hight Court bench that had asked the police to close down cases of hate speech and incitement to violence, against Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. The bench would simply not accept that Jamaatud Dawa was another name for Lashkar-e-Taiba, because the new name was not present on a certain list.

Malik Ishaq praised the Supreme Court after his release and said justice had been done. And that is ironic. Why do these people refer to the modern secular notions of law and justice when they do not believe in them? Because that is what gives them a decisive advantage. They have access to multiple epistemic devices. They can identify and exploit weak spots in our legal structure from outside, while simultaneously carrying out practices that are only justified in their own context. And that is why they are winning.

The state and its judiciary, on the other hand, insist on upholding the singular letter of law. They believe that is justice. But justice must question itself. Why should we abide by laws when dealing with people who simply do not believe in those laws? Why should we allow them the privileges of our legal system when they are fighting to replace it with their own?

Harris Bin Munawar is a media and culture critic and a news editor at The Friday Times.


18 July 2011:

Problems in countering terrorism in Pakistan

Marvi Sirmed

The unedited version of BAAGHI, originally published in the Daily Times on Monday July 18, 2011

Garlanded Together! Right: Terrorist Malik Ishaq; Left: Rana Sanaullah, Punjab Law Minister

Recent acquittal of Malik Ishaq, the prime accused in over 40 cases of terrorism, would have been a shock had not one been aware of the legal mess and half-hearted political will to counter terrorism in Pakistan. Acquittals of the accused in various terrorist cases including those involved in 2008 attacks on Mumbai as well as hundreds others involved in attacks against Pakistan itself, raises eyebrows internally and as well as internationally. The challenge needs to be seriously analyzed.

For effective anti-terror legislation, criminalizing the offence is important but is possible only after resolving conceptual issues like defining the offence and branding it as terrorist act in completely unambiguous and undisputed manner. In case of Pakistan, even after a long history of terrorism, this conceptual problem still remains unresolved and is posed with very real questions such as, if guerrilla movements (or freedom fights, so to speak) should be branded as terrorism, why to exonerate the state when it acts violently to curb internal dissent? In Pakistan’s context, the question carries weight in the backdrop of state’s behavior in curbing ‘insurgency’ in Balochistan.

Quoting Grant Wardlaw, an act becomes a terrorist act if violence or threat of violence is used against a group to make it concede to specific political demands of the perpetrator. If so, we would end up calling freedom fighters as terrorists who fought imperialism in pre-partition united India. This conceptual ambiguity however is global, not specific to Pakistan. But the handicap is severe as it affects the measures to combat terrorism as well as making operable anti-terror legislation. The inability to criminalize terrorism in most cases causes failure in framing laws and coining policies, as well as in implementing anti-terror laws.

While USA, Australia, UK, and other western countries have taken drastic legislative measures to counter terrorism ever since 9/11, Pakistan severely lags behind despite numeracy of attacks and a long evolutionary history of anti-terrorism legislation. While Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was first to introduce the word ‘terrorist act’ in legislation, first Anti-Terrorist Act was promulgated under Mian Nawaz Sharif in 1997. Apparently, the ATA of 1997 was promulgated in response to sectarian threat especially the January 1997 bombing in District Courts Lahore by Shia militant organization Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqha-Ja’afria (TNFJ). What made the law controversial was its misuse to settle political scores. At the same time however, some Sunni sectarian organizations like Sipaah Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) were selectively patronized despite ATA.

The political patronage of terrorists by some political parties for their petty electoral interests, as well as by the military establishment, has been responsible for impotency of anti-terror laws in Pakistan. The list of proscribed organizations has neither been made public officially, nor it is being implemented. Despite a public perception (quoted in many OpEds and writings) that LeT has been proscribed along with many others, Pakistan government has never come up with the clarification that it is NOT banned to date. Many proscribed organizations are allowed however, to operate and collect funds under changed names, the original identity of whom is no secret.

What is most perplexing is that despite being amply covered by the ATA 1997 and amendments of 2000, 2002 and 2005, the glorification of terrorists and terrorist organizations by media remains unchecked. Undeterred media space is still available to the representatives of proscribed organizations under the garb of a highly confused interpretation of ‘freedom of expression’. Those using violence against the state and the people, e.g., the Lal Masjid brigade including Abdul Aziz and his brother Rasheed Ghazi killed in a military operation against the Lal Masjid terrorists, are shamelessly glorified as ‘martyrs’ and ‘innocents’ by media and some political parties.

Moreover, no action could ever be seen on those using hate speech to radicalize people. Not only the militants are acquitted from courts on regular basis, these terrorists have unchallenged freedom to organize public rallies, amass funds and weapons (which they display unabashedly). Media has, in past, reported on front pages, extreme hate expressions by these militants in public rallies, like desecrating and burning the flags of USA, Israel and India. It seems a joke to even think about any legal action on such incidents by the state institutions.

That points to a serious problem of state’s will to counter the militant organizations’ influence on larger public, which ultimately is responsible for public confusions in criminalizing terrorism. Democratic governments cannot be expected to take stringent steps against militants if these militants enjoy public support. Religious political parties like Jama’at-e-Islami have openly manipulated this public support especially among youth through its students’ organization Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba. The Jama’at now has a competitor in Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) that radicalizes urban middle class youth using anti-imperial slogans against USA.

In addition to these larger problems of state’s patronage and absence of its will to counter militancy, a big problem exists in terms of implementing the laws as well as weak prosecution in cases of terrorism. Limited human & technical resources available to Police are the main hampering factor responsible for extremely weak investigation. Civilian intelligence agencies e.g. Intelligence Bureau remain resource starved and incapable to gather actionable intelligence using modern technological means. If USA wants a stable and terror-free Pakistan, it has to invest in civilian set-up rather than filling the military coffers non-stop. Many problems that Pakistan has been facing in countering terrorism are direct results of unquestioned monopoly of counter-terrorism efforts by the army. Conceptually, army should have no business in a turf that should be exclusively handled by the Interior Division, unless the later invites army’s support.

What further fans the terrorism ambers are the alleged deals between the military and the militants, for reasons described as ‘national interest’. One would, however, keep chewing nails while trying to make out how and why a nation would describe patronage of terrorism as its national interest. One of the prime examples of such tactics is Mulla Abdul Ghani Birader, most influential Afghan Taliban leader after Mulla Omar. His arrest caused ripples among the US and Afghan authorities engaged in unilateral talks with Afghan Taliban, isolating Pakistan. In a joint operation by ISI and CIA, Birader was arrested ‘mistakenly’. However, when the air cleared between the ‘stakeholders’, he was sent back to “the safety of his people” clandestinely. Similar barter deals have become rampant in terror-theater of Waziristan and Afghanistan lately, while Pakistan Army decides to act as foreign office, and Foreign Office is reduced to an events management company for the army.

Things cannot be expected to change unless some difficult decisions are taken, however unpopular they might be with a radicalized Islamist population and an unbridled army. One relatively benign decision could be the activation of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) and the formation of a high powered parliamentary committee that reviews the legislation and associated implementation problems. The Committee could become key elected machinery to table legislative proposals, make policy recommendations and advise the government to take viable steps to empower prosecution, judiciary, police etc.

This committee should be a joint body of both the Houses of the Parliament and might be chaired by a strong parliamentarian. Its membership might include representatives of all parliamentary parties, with Chairs of Standing Committees on Defense, Interior and Law & Justice be included as ex-officio members. The involvement of three key committees related to national security, I.e., Law & Justice, Defence and Interior, would make the coordination possible. If not through NACTA, solid steps need to be taken for the consolidation of intelligence collected by different agencies – military or civilian. Rigorous measures should also be taken for providing foolproof security to witnesses, counsels and judges (over 8 people were killed associated with the cases on recently acquitted terrorist Malik Ishaq).

If Pakistan wants to come clean out of what its establishment calls a ‘negative international propaganda’, she has to act. Our insistence on not going in North Waziristan can be taken as an evidence of our possible complicity, but is also an open announcement that we have willingly withdrawn our sovereignty from the area in favor of militants capturing that area since long. Save Pakistan’s Integrity is a challenging project ahead for not only the government, but also the armed forces of Pakistan.


16 July 2011

Malik Ishaq wielded clout in jail; helped Pak army

Related Articles:

LeJ’s Malik received monthly stipend from Punjab govt

Jab Pakistan per firqawariyat ka saaya tha -by Ali Suleman

Malik Ishaq being received in his hometown – Thanks to PML-N & Punjab Government.

Malik Ishaq, the chief of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), who has been set free on bail after 14 years in prison, wielded clout even in jail and was specially flown to Rawalpindi by army in October 2009 to negotiate with the ‘fidayeen’ attackers who had stormed its headquarters.

Ishaq, the founding member of LeJ, was flown from a Lahore jail to the garrison town of Rawalpindi on October 10, 2009 by the military authorities in a chartered flight to buy time with attackers.

The terrorist leader, who himself admitted to a Urdu daily in October 1997 that he had been “instrumental in the killing of 102 people”, was engaged by military after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan ‘fidayeen’ attackers, who were strapped with suicide jackets, took 42 people hostage, including many security personnel, The News reported on Saturday.

The attackers had put forth a list of demands and threatened to kill hostages. However, as a time-buying tactic, the negotiators decided to rope in some key leaders of several ‘jehadi’ and sectarian groups to hold talks with terrorists.

“Special planes were subsequently flown to Lahore, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan to bring to Rawalpindi Malik Ishaq, a key leader of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, the chief of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Maulana Fazalur Rehman Khalil, the ameer of Harkatul Mujahideen and Mufti Abdul Rauf, the younger brother of Maulana Masood Azhar who is also the acting ameer of Jaish-e-Mohammad,” the report said.

Interestingly, all the four jehadi leaders who were engaged by the military authorities to hold talks with the GHQ hostage takers had earlier been roped in by the Musharraf regime in July 2007 to negotiate with the fanatic clerics of the infamous Lal Mosque in the heart of Islamabad.

Ishaq was released yesterday from jail, greeted by hundreds of followers who showered rose petals on him, after he was given bail by the Supreme Court in the last case against him alleging his involvement in the Sri Lankan cricket team attack, “due to lack of evidence and (the) weak case of the prosecution”.

Ishaq was arrested in 1997 for involvement in sectarian murders – almost all of his victims were members of the minority Shia community.

He was charged with murder of 70 people in 44 different cases but escaped conviction in each case due to “lack of evidence”.

He was also accused of masterminding, from behind bars, the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, which wounded seven players and an assistant coach, and killed eight Pakistanis.

The attacks saw Pakistan stripped of its right to co-host this year’s cricket World Cup and the country has since hosted no top foreign teams.

In March, police said they had arrested six alleged plotters over the Sri Lankan attacks from Pakistan’s main Taliban faction, with which LJ has ties.

Ishaq has already served seven and a half years for attempted murder.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is regarded as Pakistan’s most extreme Sunni terror group, accused of killing hundreds of Shiite Muslims after its emergence in the early 1990s. It was banned by then president Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

The group played a key role in the 2002 kidnap and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl from Karachi and in twin failed assassination bids on key US ally Musharraf in December 2003.

Bomb and suicide attacks across the country have killed around 4,500 people since 2007 and Pakistan says it has lost thousands of troops in fighting.

Launched in 1996 as a Sunni sectarian group, LeJ today has deep links with al-Qaeda and Taliban and is considered the most violent terrorist group operating in Pakistan with the help of its lethal suicide squad, the daily said.

As with most Sunni sectarian and militant groups, almost the entire LeJ leadership is made of people who have fought in Afghanistan and most of its cadre strength has been drawn from the numerous Sunni madrassas in Pakistan.

Source: Hindustan Times


16 July 2011:

Malik Ishaq’s release

It was a sad day for the justice system of Pakistan when an alleged killer and terrorist, Malik Ishaq, was released from prison after 14 years. Ishaq was one of the founder members of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), an offshoot of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). Both the LeJ and the SSP are known terror outfits and mostly indulge in sectarian violence. Upon Ishaq’s release, it was announced that he had given up his LeJ membership and joined the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at. Ishaq is alleged to have killed scores of people, mostly Shias. He was also accused of having masterminded the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team back in 2009. Out of 44 cases lodged against him, Ishaq was acquitted in most cases while he was granted bail in the remaining ones. There are a number of reasons for his acquittal.

Pakistan’s justice system is weak in many ways, most notably when it comes to prosecution of terrorists and known criminals. Our investigation and forensic system and collection of evidence are almost non-existent. We do not have a proper witness protection programme, so many eyewitnesses are intimidated by the accused and/or his sympathisers. Some witnesses have lost their lives during a trial before or after testifying against terrorists. It is because of such incidents that people are afraid to testify. While granting bail is at the discretion of the judges, they too come under pressure during sensitive trials. It is for this reason that special laws are required in the special circumstances Pakistan is going through when terrorism is rampant in the country and the justice system has not been able to convict terrorists. As far as Malik Ishaq is concerned, the manner in which he was detained and ‘entertained’ in jail speaks volumes about our prison system. He is alleged to have been operationally active while in prison.

Britain implemented the Prevention of Terrorism Act when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was considered to be a terror threat. Pakistan also needs to legislate proper anti-terror laws. The need of the hour is to empower the courts, the prosecution and law enforcement agencies so that dangerous social elements are kept off the streets and not released to wreak more havoc.

(Mehmal’s editorial in Daily Times)


16 July 2011

LeJ’s Malik received monthly stipend from Punjab govt

Related Articles:

Malik Ishaq wielded clout in jail; helped Pak army

Thank you, ISI-backed Supreme Court, for releasing Malik Ishaq

The money was given to support Ishaq’s family, says Rana Sanaullah. PHOTO: NNI
By Asad Kharal

Malik Ishaq enjoyed Punjab government’s financial assistance ever since the Sharif’s came to power in 2008, officials on condition of anonymity told The Express Tribune.
The accused terror kingpin belonging to banned Sunni outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), nominated in 44 cases in which 70 people were killed, allegedly received a monthly stipend, during imprisonment, from the Punjab government.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed the disbursement but clarified that it was given to Ishaq’s family, not him, as per orders of the court. However, upon further investigation, it was revealed that nor was there any such disbursements during former president Musharraf’s tenure, nor was there any court order pertaining to the matter.

Meanwhile, one of the key witnesses in Ishaq’s court case, Fida Hussain Ghalvi, is receiving police protection to avoid any untoward incidents, highlighting concerns arising from Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) after the release of Malik Ishaq.

Ghalvi while talking to The Express Tribune confirmed that on the direction of Multan City Police Officer Amir Zulifqar, Multan and Vehari police have provided two policemen to him for security protection. Furthemore, Ghalvi has also relocated from his native town out of fear for his own life. He had been currently residing in two different locations, moving back and forth for security purposes.

However, leaving Ghalvi out, two other key witnesses and one complainant have not been provided any security as of yet and fear for their lives. The men identified as Khadim, Sikandar and Abdul Ghafour (complainant) are the only people to have survived the court cases which have taken 20 lives, including eight people who were murdered purely for being associated with the case.

“I can be attacked at any time and I do not know if I will be alive tomorrow or not, as you know almost everyone who was a witness or a relative has been slain,’ said Sikandar, who now operating a cloth store in Dokota on Multan Road.

“When Ishaq was in jail eight people were killed mercilessly by the same group,” said Khadim Hussain, who is now a farmer in Dokota.

The complainant (Abdul Ghafour) of the first case against Ishaq in which 12 people were massacred during a majlis, said he has been awaiting justice for 14 years but has completely lost hope since the release of Ishaq.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2011.

Najam Sethi on PML-N’s support to Sipah-e-Sahabsa / Lashkar-e-Jhangvi


15 July 2011

Pakistan releases Lashkar-e-Jhangvi commander from jail

July 15, 2011 11:17 AM

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has granted bail to a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader who is thought to have been involved in the March 3, 2009 assault on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. From Dawn:

Malik Ishaq, a leader of the banned extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was arrested in 1997.
He has been accused of a variety of crimes, including orchestrating the attack on the cricketers, which left six security officers and a driver dead.

Over the years, the cases against Ishaq have faltered as many witnesses have been too scared to testify.

Jail official Malik Mubashar said the Supreme Court granted Ishaq bail on Monday and he was freed Thursday after he posted it.

A couple of quick points:

Not to restate the obvious, but if Ishaq has been imprisoned since 1997, he has been plotting attack after attack while in custody.
Ishaq won’t be the first Pakistani terrorist to have done so. The most prominent terrorist to organize attacks from prison is Sheikh Omar Saeed, the notorious Jaish-e-Mohammed commander who was involved in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002. See LWJ reports Omar Saeed Sheikh plots assassination from Pakistani jail and New investigation into murder of Daniel Pearl released for more information on Saeed and the murder of Daniel Pearl.
Pakistan has a very real problem keeping terrorists in jail, as this report from AKI demonstrates. Terrorists are adept at intimidating those who might testify against them.

Read more:


14 July 2011

Thank you, ISI-backed Supreme Court, for releasing Malik Ishaq

Portrait of a Supreme Court – ISI backed Killer

Malik Ishaq was showered with rose petals by the right wing assets of Pakistan’s military establishment
Note by Suleman Akhtar:

Malik Ishaq, prominent figure of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) (also known as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) or Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat) was today set free by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The head of Sipah-e-Sihaba Pakistan, Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, received him outside Lahore Kot-Lakhpat Jail amidst jubilation and red roses. Same LeJ who have claimed responsibility for taking more than 800 lives in Quetta since 2004 are about to unleash yet another bastard to Hazara Shias in Quetta (or possibly Saraiki Shias in D.I.Khan or Toori Shias in Parachinar) and the stage is ready for blood, flesh and dust act.

Maulana Ludhianvi receives Malik Ishaq at Lahore Kot Lakhpat jail (Express News Report)

ISI backed judge Iftikhar Chaudhry was showered with rose petals by right wing proxies and fake liberal proxies of the military establishment

Mumtaz Qadri (killer of PPP leader Salmaan Taseer) was showered with rose petals by right wing proxies and urban lawyer proxies of the military establishment

Note by Maula Bux Thadani:

Unfortunately, an Ostrich mentality is not going to get us out of this mess. Today a terrorist like Malik Ishaq is freed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan after being charged in the murder of scores of Shia Muslims and other Pakistanis as well as attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team. His supporters boast of such killings. This is what a local report said about him:

Thirteen years ago, Fida Hussain Ghalvi and three other witnesses boldly testified against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s top hitman Malik Ishaq for the killing of 12 members of their family. They didn’t know that their search for justice would lead them nowhere, the ordeal had just begun…”

If Malik Ishaq had been killed by a drone, the mainstream media and the Ghairat brigade would be jumping up and down, and screaming and frothing about “sovereignty” and “honour”. They and their intellectually and morally bankrupt cohorts and guests would blackmail us as to how this killing would lead to greater radicalization without a care for the victims of terrorism being butchered daily in Pakistan.

When we have such blatant double standards is it any wonder?? When our Supreme Court releases the Malik Ishaq’s and the Hafiz Saeeds: assets for some folks and existential threats for scores of innocent Pakistanis on the basis of “lack of evidence”, do we wonder why the world treats us with such skepticism!

The same Judiciary also allows the likes of Maulana Aziz, Maulana Ludhainvi, Masood Azhar and Qari Saifullah Akhtar to freely roam the land and spread hatred and fear and plan violence, not to mention the late (?) Illyas Kashmiri.

Of course, this “lack of evidence” is not an issue when selectively going after some politicians in the NICL, Hajj and NRO case, where those being charged are directed to produce evidence against themselves! With such blatant double standards, why do you wonder why? There were scores of murder cases lodged against Malik Ishaq. However, our “independent” Judiciary could not find him guilty on even ONE of these cases inspite of eye witness testimony made at great personal risk by the victim’s family! Travesty is too mild a word to describe the disgraceful conduct of our Judiciary! If Malik Ishaq had been a Pakistan People’s Party MNA or minister, he would have been found guilty within days. It was Malik Ishaq’s good luck that he was an ISI-backed Jihadi butcher of Pakistan’s endangered Shia muslim communities.

The fact that the world does not trust Pakistan on the Taliban is largely due to the fact that the media has failed in informing the public. After every terrorist attack, which until recently were proudly claimed by the TTP and their Jihadi buddies from LeJ and other such groups, the media deliberately played dumb and mislead the public with wild conspiracy theories that started with RAW, went on to Mossad and ended with Blackwater.

Dear Pakistani fake liberals (Supreme Court apologists), lets not be coy about this, ok?


1 July 2011

Seven terror suspects released

From the Newspaper | Metropolitan > Islamabad | By Our Staff Reporter July 1, 2011

RAWALPINDI, June 30: Seven suspected terrorists charged with possessing explosive, attacking the Danish embassy and abetting the killing of Army Surgeon General Mushtaq Baig were released from Adiala Central Jail on Thursday night, official sources said.

The suspects had been acquitted by the trial court on May 29 due to lack of evidence but on the directive of the deputy commissioner Islamabad, the capital police detained them. However, they challenged their detention in the Islamabad High Court which set aside the detention orders on Tuesday.


17 June 2011

Pakistan Court Acquits Suspects Of Christian Massacre
Friday, June 17, 2011 (12:52 am)

Christian Persecution in Pakistan

Ten people died in anti-Christian violence in Gojra, Pakistan.
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)– Christians in Pakistan remained fearful Thursday, June 16, after a court in Pakistan acquitted 70 Muslims who were suspected of killing Christians in one of the country’s worst sectarian clashes in recent memory.
At least eight Christians burned to death in August 2009, in what became known as the “Gojra Massacre” named after the town where the killings took place, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) outside Punjab province’s capital, Lahore.

Two others also died in separate attacks on Gojra’s Christian colony by Muslim extremists, and churches and homes were reportedly set on fire.

On July 30 they also attacked Christians in the nearby Korian village, leaving many homes in ruins, witnesses said.


However a Pakistani anti-terrorism court acquitted the 70 suspects, citing an absence of Christian witnesses in the courtroom and a lack of evidence against the accused, trial observers said.

Earlier, other suspects were declared innocent during the investigation into the incident.

Some Christians were also imprisoned for attacking “the other group” and released after a few months, Christians said.

The attacks by an angry mob of about 800 people began after Muslims alleged some Christians had burnt pages of the Koran, deemed a holy book by Muslims, during a wedding.

Christians have denied wrong doing.


Media reported that activists of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba and Sipah-e-Muhammad groups were involved in the violence.

Christian community leaders alleged the police released some of the accused because of political pressure.

Local Christians have also been scared to come forward and some fled the area, church officials said. “It is apparent that justice was denied. The Church was vigilant in pursuing the case but Christians were afraid to follow up,” explained Catholic priest Yaqub Yousaf of the Sacred Heart Church in Gojra.

“A whole family shifted to Sri Lanka while a few left the city for good,” added Yousaf in published comments.


He also complained that reconstruction work, as promised by government, was left unfinished. “Eight houses in Korian village remain in ruins while a few houses in Gojra city are still incomplete,” he added.

The violence comes amid a painful debate on controversial blasphemy legislation that critics say have been misused by extremists to persecute Christians in this mainly Muslim nation.

Earlier this year, Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the federal cabinet, was gunned down by suspected Taliban fighters in Islamabad after he opposed the controversial blasphemy law.

And in one of the latest reported incidents last week, at least 10 Christian families in a village in Pakistan’s Punjab Province fled their homes after a mob of area Muslims accused a Christian boy of blaspheming Islam.


15 June 2011

Thank you, judiciary, for releasing the notorious target killer Ajmal Pahari


13 June 2011

Pakistan: Low rate of terrorists’ conviction worries military

last update: June 13, 12:51

Islamabad, 13 June (AKI/Dawn) – Pakistani military authorities have expressed serious concern over what they call dismally low rate of terrorist convictions by courts throughout the country and have asked the government to see if some necessary changes could be made in relevant laws, Dawn has learnt through reliable sources.

At a recent meeting between top civilian and military leadership, the sources said, the issue of increasing number of suspected terrorists securing easy acquittals from courts, mainly in the absence of adequate evidence, came up and it was decided to have a complete review of the law of evidence.

The meeting decided to review all laws relating to handling of accused terrorists, in particular the law of evidence should be carefully studied and loopholes be identified for amendment or where there was a need for addition or a new law, the matter must be decided on a priority basis by the ministry of law.
The military, the sources said, was particularly worried about those arrested since the launch of army operations in Malakand division and Fata, but eventually acquitted by courts.
However, Barrister Zafarullah Khan, a Supreme Court lawyer, found little wisdom in the suggestion for amending the law of evidence which, he said, was in practice in several countries and being successfully implemented.
Accepting the alarmingly low rate of conviction of terrorists, some of them caught red-handed by law-enforcement agencies, Khan said the problem wasn’t with the contents of law of evidence but with the prosecution department of police. And it’s a countrywide problem, not restricted to any particular province and area, he added.
Khan, who was a prosecution lawyer in the murder case of General (retired) Ameer Faisal Alvi who was killed in Islamabad in November 2008 and the accused were set free for lack of evidence, said that in the wake of increasing terrorist attacks in the country, law-enforcement agencies were facing problem at three different levels in securing judgments in terrorism cases.
One, he said, it was difficult to find an eyewitness in cases of suicide bombing or other terrorist activities. In legal terms, an eyewitness is considered an irrefutable piece of evidence. But eyewitnesses preferred to stay away for fear of reprisals from terrorist organisations involved in the crime, he added. Also in such cases there is always a joint investigation team comprising police, the FIA and intelligence agencies which although find causes of, and leads to a certain incident, provide little help in prosecuting an accused.
In the Marriot bombing case and Parade Lane Mosque attack, courts had to acquit the accused for lack of evidence, said Mr Khan. In response to a question, he said the government needed to pay special attention to prosecution departments of police. He said instead of appointing a government lawyer after investigation into a certain case, the prosecution should be involved from day one so that it could get hold of presentable evidence.
“What is happening at the moment, police although complete their investigation they don’t collect adequate evidence from court’s point of view. As a result, an accused easily manages to secure a favourable judgment,” said Mr Khan.
The failure of prosecution by police was also substantiated by a Supreme Court official involved in monitoring provincial anti-terrorism courts. The official, who preferred not to be named, said that in majority of cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the
province which had a dismally low conviction rate, police had hardly provided one pager statements. In some cases, he said, even FIRs were found missing. Hence the criticism of judiciary for lack of conviction of terrorists was highly misplaced.
Yes, it is a fact that in the absence of modern gadgetries, police cannot provide forensic evidence which in many cases can be used to convict terrorists. The government should pay special attention to the matter, said the official.
However, he agreed that there was a need of review of not only the law of evidence but also the entire legal set-up created in 1997 by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif to counter terrorist activities.
Over the past 10 years or so, the official said, the country had faced different types of terrorist activities and, therefore, the legal system needed to be revised accordingly.


8 June 2011

70 suspects in Gojra incident acquitted

A special Anti-Terrorism Court in Faisalabad acquitted all 70 suspects nominated responsible for the tragedy in Gojra on Tuesday.

Accused released on bail: Gojra carnage case deferred for a year
By Shamsul Islam
Published: June 8, 2011

Decision taken due to absence of five witnesses who were not in the country.
A special Anti-Terrorism Court in Faisalabad on Tuesday deferred criminal proceedings on the Gojra carnage for a year. It also released on bail the remaining suspects nominated responsible for the tragedy for want of evidence and continuous absence of complainants and eyewitnesses.
On July 31 2009, a Christian Colony was set ablaze by a mob, resulting in the death of eight Christians. Sixty houses were also set on fire. So far, none of the accused have been convicted.
The order was announced by Justice Chaudhry Muneer Ahmed of Anti Terrorism Court-II Faisalabad. According to court prosecutors, two applications were moved before the court, each from the accused and prosecutors, suggesting the issuance of a stay order on the case.
During the inquiry, 185 witnesses submitted written statements but five witnesses had already left the country.
Two cases had been registered in the aftermath of the Gojra incident.
In the first case, 70 people were nominated by the complainant of which 68 had been granted bail before arrest by the court. The remaining two – Atif alias Neeru and Ghulam Abbas – were detained.
Atif and Abbas’ lawyers pleaded for cancellation of the case on grounds of complainants’ failure to pursue the case on Tuesday.
The lawyers filed an application, claiming that the complainant and eyewitnesses are now settled abroad and not appearing in the case.
The court ordered to close the case for one year and ordered the release of Abbas and Atif on surety bonds worth Rs100,000 each.
The court observed that “prosecution has filed an application stating that the government is making efforts to bring back the complainant, the three injured and the witness, assuring their protection … it is expected that the attendance of the said witness will be procured within two to three months.”
The accused and the prosecution filed similar pleas in the second case.
The court, asking the prosecution to ‘make strenuous efforts to bring the witnesses to court … within one year,’ ordered the release on bail of the three accused.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2011.

7 Jun 2011

Gojra suspects acquitted due to absence of 5 witnesses

A special Anti-Terrorism Court in Faisalabad acquitted all 70 suspects nominated responsible for the tragedy in Gojra on Tuesday.


4 June 2011

Faisal Raza Abidi exposing once again pro taliban courts and politicians


8 terrorists made a plan to kill president Zardari but arrested, abidi exposing collaboration between terrorists and courts

It is really a serious concern where most of murderers and criminals are acquitted by the Courts in Pakistan.
Even persons caught red handed, are not executed.
I guess Judges, in Pakistan are not courageous enough and are much scared of the consequences to impart justice.
They are loyal to their life, service and salary.


29 May 2011

Do you endorse military courts for terrorists? – by Ammar Kazmi


10 May 2011

December 30, 2010, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, expressed his dissatisfaction with the poor functioning of ATCs, particularly with regard to the low disposal and high pendency of cases. The data cited indicated disposal/pendency figures of the ATCs in the four Provinces as follows:

Name of Province
Number of Courts
Total cases decided during the preceding year
Cases Pending

A day later, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also voiced similar concerns in the National Assembly (NA), admitting that the ATCs needed improvement, because thousands of terrorists, who had been apprehended by law enforcement agencies, got bail from courts due to legal lacunae and resumed terrorist activities. The Prime Minister added, “I will not blame the judiciary, but we have to improve the Anti-Terrorism Act.”

The ATCs were established in 1997 under former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Government to deal with terrorism. The main purpose was to disburden the parent judicial system from the increasing number of terrorism related cases. The 1997 Anti-Terrorist Act was amended on October 24, 1998, by the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance, and originally applied to the NWFP and Balochistan. On August 27, 1999, the Pakistan Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance extended the ATC system to the entire country.

The data on disposal and pendency of cases before the ATC does not adequately reflect the gravity of the situation. According to the Pakistan Security Report 2010 published by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), law-enforcement agencies had arrested 10,161 suspected terrorists across the country, including 8,863 alleged members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other Taliban affiliated groups, 50 al Qaeda operatives, 288 suspected Afghan Taliban, 18 militants of Jundullah (a Karachi-based group) and 147 cadres of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). A significant proportion of these suspects were released after preliminary investigations, although precise figures were not made public.

Partial reports from other sources help fill up the picture. According to an October 16, 2010, report in Dawn, the ATCs in the Punjab Province had freed the accused in 306 high-profile terrorism cases after witnesses resiled out of fear, while suspects in another 372 cases were acquitted on the basis of compromises between the parties, or on merit, through 2010. The Punjab Public Prosecution Department initiated proceedings against hardened criminals and activists of banned outfits in 1,324 cases registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) from January 1 to September 30, 2010. These cases were sent to 14 ATCs working in Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions. The report disclosed that 479 of these cases resulted in the acquittal of all accused, including 144 cases in Lahore courts, 62 in Gujranwala courts, 42 cases in Rawalpindi, 35 in Multan, 53 in Faisalabad, 62 in Sargodha, 42 in Bahawalpur and 39 in Dera Ghazi Khan. The prosecution was successful in securing convictions in just 199 cases, 43 in Lahore, 40 in Gujranwala, 15 in Rawalpindi, 14 in Multan, 22 in Faisalabad, 34 in Sargodha, eight in Bahawalpur and 25 in Dera Ghazi Khan. The prosecution department had 235 cases transferred from the ATCs, to lower courts because these were found to be unsuitable for trial under the ATA.


9 May 2011


61 militants and four civilians among 69 persons killed during the week in FATA: The United Sates (US) drones fired missiles into a compound in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on May 6, killing at least 17 militants.

Ten militants were killed and as many others injured in a clash between the Hafiz Daulat and Nabi groups in Kurrat area in Kurram Agency on May 4.

Seven Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) militants were killed and two others injured in an aerial firing by the Security Forces (SFs) in the remote Bazaar Zakha Khel area near Khar Ghot in Landikotal town of Khyber Agency on May 3. Dawn; Daily Times; The News, Tribune; May 3-9, 2011.

Al Qaeda confirms Osama bin Laden’s death and warns US of retaliation: The al Qaeda on May 6 confirmed the death of its leader Osama Bin Laden and swore revenge for his killing by elite US commandos, the SITE monitoring group reported. “We in the al Qaeda organisation pledge to God and ask his help, support and steadfastness to continue on the path of jihad, the path walked upon by our leaders, and on top of them, Osama,” SITE quoted a statement by the organisation as saying. Daily Times , May 7, 2011.

We will avenge Osama killing, says TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on May 2 confirmed the killing of Osama Bin Laden and issued a threat that TTP will take its revenge. TTP’s spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan in an audio message, said, “Pakistan will be the prime target followed by United States (US)”, adding, “The US had been on a man-hunt for Osama and now Pakistani rulers are on our hit-list. We had also killed Benazir Bhutto in a suicide attack.” The News, May 3, 2011.

JUI-F hail Osama bin Laden as a ‘hero’ in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Lawmaker Mufti Kifayatullah of Jama’at Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) during the proceedings of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on May 4 termed Osama bin Laden as a ‘hero’ of Muslims and a great jihadi leader, who sacrificed his life for the glory of Islam. Dawn, May 6, 2011.

Osama Bin Laden was given shelter by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, says report: The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) owned the mansion in the town of Abbottabad in Kahyber Pakhtunkhwa where Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces, a Canadian newspaper, Globe and Mail, has reported. The report claimed that Pakistan is hushing up the issue of the ownership of the compound. Times of India, May 5, 2011.

Elements in ISI have dual loyalty, says US lawmaker Peter King: Charging that elements in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have “dual loyalty”, United States (US) lawmaker Peter King on May 4 alleged that the Pakistan intelligence outfits spend more time in chasing Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents inside Pakistan rather the terrorists operating inside the country. “There’s no doubt that there have been elements in the ISI which have not been supportive of our position, which have at least a dual loyalty,” said Congressman, Peter King. Indian Express, May 5, 2011.

Any ‘misadventure’ or ‘miscalculation’ in future will be catastrophic, warned Pakistan: Pakistan warned the United States on May 5 of “disastrous consequences” if it carries out any more raids against terrorists like the one that killed Osama bin Laden, and hit back at international allegations it may have been harbouring the al Qaeda ‘chief’. Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said that Pakistan’s military and political leadership was well-equipped and mindful of the defence requirements of the country. Daily Times , May 6, 2011.

Obama reserves right to act again in Pakistan, says US President Barack Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney: The White House said on May 4 that United States (US) President Barack Obama reserves the right to act again against top terror suspects inside Pakistan, following the raid which killed Osama bin Laden. Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney said, “President Obama made very clear during the campaign that that was his view, and by the actions he has taken as President, feels that it was the right approach and continues to feel that way”. The News , May 5, 2011.

Legislation introduced in US to freeze financial aid to Pakistan: A legislation was introduced on May 5 in the United States (US) House of Representatives which if passed would cut aid to Pakistan unless the state department can certify that Islamabad was not harbouring al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. “For all these years, we believed that Osama bin Laden was on the run, living in a cave but, apparently, Satan’s Pawn has been living for years in a million-dollar compound just yards away from a Pakistani military base, but Pakistan claims no knowledge of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts. I just don’t buy it,” said Texas Republican Ted Poe. Times of India, May 6, 2011.

No operation in Balochistan, says Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani: Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani on May 5 said that no operation is being conducted in the province and there are no troops or tanks present in the province. “No military operation is being carried out in Balochistan,” he said. Dawn, May 6, 2011.


8 May 2011

Those acquitted in Daniel Pearl’s case:

Khalid Choudhary, a courier who allegedly delivered the murder video to an FBI agent in Karachi, is believed to be working in that city as a reporter under an alias for Online International News Network. Choudhary told investigators he had gotten the video from guard Fazal Karim. According to a brother, Choudhary told their mother that he didn’t know what was on the video when he delivered it. Karim gives a different account and said Choudhary knew the contents.
Fazal Karim was allegedly one of the guards during Pearl’s captivity and a witness to the murder. Picked up by police in connection with a May 8, 2002, bombing of the Karachi Sheraton, Karim told Pakistani police where to find Pearl’s remains. He was never charged in connection with the Pearl case and is free.
Siraj ul-Haq, one of Pearl’s alleged guards, was released from jail. A Pakistani police officer tried to make him an informant, but didn’t have much luck. He was present on the day Pearl was murdered, according to police reports. He is currently free, police sources say.
Abdul Hayee, another alleged guard in the kidnapping, was arrested in the city of Multan in May 2003 for allegedly killing six Shia minority sect Muslims. He was acquitted and is living in the Pakistan province of Punjab, according to a police official. An expert in explosives and weapons, he has allegedly been a player in many terrorist-related incidents. According to the Pakistani police official, Hayee was the “most wanted Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist” who was involved in the planning of Pearl’s kidnapping.
Sajid Jabbar was allegedly designated by Omar Sheikh to meet Pearl at the Village Restaurant and take him to the compound where he would be held, according to Pakistani police files. He was arrested in February 2004 for a parcel bomb attack and acquitted one month later. According to a police source, Jabbar is currently free.
Muhammad Muzzamil, another guard, was allegedly present the day Pearl was murdered, witnessed the interview portion of the murder video, and then helped bind Pearl’s hands and legs, according to Pakistani police records. Before the actual murder, he was told to leave.
Mohammad Hashim Qadir was allegedly the militant facilitator who arranged the meeting between Pearl and Sheikh, who at the time was posing as “Bashir.” He was released from jail, according to a Pakistani police official, who said he was held for alleged ties to bombings.
Attaur Rehman allegedlyorganized the holding cell and led kidnappers to the safehouse compound on a motorcycle. Rehman was unofficially in Pakistani custody from 2002 until 2010, according to his relatives who have tried to challenge his detention as illegal. Rehman was officially charged with weapons possession in 2007. According to a Pakistani police official, Rehman was released from jail in July 2010 and is believed to be in Karachi.
Mati-ur Rehman was involved in the planning of the kidnapping, according to a police source. He was arrested in August 2006, but released, according to Pakistani police, who have him on their most wanted list for alleged crimes that include running a terrorist training camp in Waziristan. According to police, he was also involved in attacks on Pakistani leaders Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz, as well as the 2002 bombing at the Sheraton in Karachi. He is allegedly making suicide vests that are being used against forces of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Sohail was an associate of militant leaders Amjad Farooqi and Mati-ur Rehman. He was present at meetings related to the Pearl kidnapping. He was sentenced to death in 2003 for his role in the 2002 Sheraton Karachi Hotel bombing that killed 11 French engineers. Upon appeal, Sohail was acquitted in 2009 and he now is free.
Malik Tassadaq Hussain, another alleged guard, took the photos of Pearl that were placed in the e-mail, U.S. officials say. Pakistani police told journalists in April 2004 that they arrested him, but he was never charged in the Pearl case. He was prosecuted for an attack on a police van. In April 2007, he was acquitted. According to Pakistani police officials, Hussain is free.
Mohammad Akbar Sattar was an English-speaking guard whom Pearl shoved in the bathroom when trying to escape, according to police reports. Sattar did not witness the murder. Sattar’s father reportedly filed a petition for his release from prison in November 2003.According to a Pakistani police official, he is out of jail and running a rice business in Karachi and also involved in fundraising for Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Muhammad Rasheed was a taxi driver who transported Arab members of Al Qaeda around Karachi, police officials said. He was present at meetings in which the logistics for Pearl’s kidnapping were planned. He is free.
Shaikh Shahid was an associate of Fazal Karim, one of the guards allegedly holding Pearl. He helped Karim deliver the murder video to Khalid Choudhary. Booked on narcotics charges by authorities in the city of Jacobabad, Shahid was acquitted and released, according to Pakistani police.


4 May 2011

The world may help Pakistan through United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission on Pakistan (UNMOVICP)


21 April 2011

Pakistani court upholds gang-rape acquittals

All but one of six suspects freed in case of Mukhtaran Mai, who was gang-raped in the name of “honour”.
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2011 20:09

Five men accused of gang-raping a Pakistani woman in 2002 under orders from a village council have been acquitted by the supreme court of the country, their lawyer says.

Abdul Khalique, the sixth suspect in the case, had his life sentence upheld, Malik Saleem, the defence lawyer, said on Thursday.

The rape of Mukhtaran Mai in 2002 drew international attention after she decided to speak out about her ordeal, defying Pakistani norms.

She alleged that she had been gang-raped on the orders of a village council in the name of “honour” in Muzaffargarh district. The gang-rape was to be punishment because her brother – who was 12 years old at the time – had been judged to have offended the “honour” of a powerful clan by allegedly having an affair with one of its women.

Following the judgement, Mai said she had “lost faith” in the legal system, and she was now worried that the acquitted men would harm her.

Saleem said the five were acquitted because of the lack of eyewitness testimony.

The five men will now be freed once their paperwork is complete, he said.

The supreme court, to which Mai had appealed in 2005, was upholding a previous verdict issued by the Lahore high court. Asked if she would appeal the verdict, Mai said she would take a decision after consulting her lawyers.

“I’m disappointed. Why was I made to wait for five years if this decision was to be given?” Mai told the Reuters news agency.

Human rights activists in the country criticised the verdict shortly after it was issued.

Farzana Bari of Centre for Gender Studies at Qaid-I-Azam University in Islamabad, told Al Jazeera: “We are devastated and frustrated with the court decision and feel that Mukhtar Mai had a strong case.”

“The kind of lacunae we have in our criminal justice system, it is not geared to provide justice to women who are especially victims of sexual violence.”

‘Did not receive justice’

In July 2002, police had submitted a chargesheet against 14 suspects in an anti-terrorism court. That court found six suspects guilty, sentencing them to death, and acquitted the remaining eight.

After that verdict was appealed, the Lahore high court’s Multan bench, acquitted five of the suspects, and commuted Khalique’s sentence to life imprisonment.

“I did not receive justice today, hence I have left my fate in the hands of God,” the Dawn newspaper quoted Mai as saying.

“The release of the suspects has put my life in grave danger.”

Mai’s courage in defying centuries-old customs won her human rights awards and made her a role model for many women in Pakistan. She used her fame to gather donations from the government and private citizens, which she then used to run a school for girls in her village.

She has vowed not to shut down her school.

“Life and death are in the hands of Allah … I will not shut my school and other projects,” she said.

Rights group condemnation

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights group, expressed dismay at the court’s decision, saying that the attack on Mai had taken place “in full public view and the perpetrators were publically identified”.

“Today’s verdict by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the Mukhtaran Mai case reflects poorly on the Supreme Court,” Ali Dayan Hasan, HRW’s South Asia researcher, said.

Hasan said that HRW was particularly concerned about Mai’s safety, and has called on the government to ensure her protection.

“This is a setback for Mukhtaran Mai, the broader struggle to end violence against women and the cause of an independent, rights-respecting judiciary in Pakistan,” he said.


18 April 2011

Terrorism: Judicial Flaws
Muhammad Amir Rana

THE continuing wave of terrorist attacks in Pakistan demonstrates that the internal security situation remains a pressing challenge for Pakistan. The reality indicates that critical security challenges still remain unaddressed.

Better coordination among intelligence agencies, the capacity-building of law-enforcement agencies, curbs on terrorism financing and adequate measures to prevent banned militant organisations from operating across the country are lacking.

The government has also failed to establish a robust counterterrorism narrative or force, and as far as the latter is concerned, is relying largely on its existing human and logistical resources. One of the most important challenges is the deficiencies in the prosecution and judicial system.

Despite all weaknesses, security forces are trying to build a response to terrorism. According to the Pakistan Security Report 2010 by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, in 2010, law-enforcement agencies had arrested 10,161 suspected militants across the country, including 8,863 alleged activists of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other Taliban groups, 50 Al Qaeda operatives, 288 suspected Afghan Taliban, 18 militants of Jundullah (the group based in Karachi) and 147 members of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. Many of these suspects were released after preliminary investigations, although precise figures were not made public. But law-enforcement agencies feel reluctant to produce them in court because the high ratio of suspects exonerated.

Institutional weakness is clear in the judicial system, which often results in the release of arrested terror suspects. A spate of court judgments in high-profile terrorism cases has raised many concerns, and resulted in the release of arrested terror suspects. These cases included those suspected of being involved in the November 2009 suicide attacks in Rawalpindi, the September 2008 Marriott bombing in Islamabad, the Manawan police training academy attacks and the rocket-firing case at the Pakistan aeronautical complex in Kamra. Malik Ishaq and Akram Lahori, founder members of the banned sectarian terrorist group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, were acquitted in 45 cases because of poor prosecution. Both were facing more than 100 cases.

Neither the judiciary nor the executive is satisfied with the existing anti-terrorism laws and the performance of the anti-terrorism courts. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani admitted in the National Assembly that anti-terrorism laws needed to be tightened and was concerned that terrorists apprehended by the law-enforcement agencies had been bailed out and that they again indulged in terrorist activities. Last year, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry showed his dissatisfaction with the poor functioning of anti-terrorism courts (ATCs).

The superior judiciary has noted that the method of appointments, a reason behind the poor performance of ATCs, and the legal system itself need reforms. The federal and provincial governments also need to rethink their approach to the judicial system. It is common practice for provincial governments not to cooperate with the judiciary. For instance, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has not taken notice of several reminders by the Peshawar High Court to establish new ATCs and equip these with judges and staff — 3,500 terror suspects are behind bars, waiting for their trial to begin.

The promulgation of anti-terrorism laws is another issue. The anti-terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance still not has been made the law. With the passage of the 18th Amendment, the president does not have the power to re-promulgate it without the National Assembly’s approval. This deprives the state of certain powers that are crucial to dealing with terrorism, such as a bar on banks and financial institutions on providing loans or financial support to members of proscribed outfits. Similarly, it was this ordinance that barred members of banned organisations from obtaining passports and travelling abroad.

A cohesive legislative framework to deal with terrorism, under which ATCs can effectively function, is very crucial.

Parliament needs to take up the issue immediately.

Legislation alone can never be an effective tool to deal with terrorism until the capacity of the legal system, including the ATCs, judges, lawyers and the prosecution departments, is enhanced. Apart from transparency and the appointment of capable judges in the ATCs, the Supreme Court and the high courts should monitor the functioning of anti-terrorism courts in accordance with the Supreme Court’s judgment in the 1999 Sheikh Liaquat Hussain case.

Successful prosecution is not possible without sufficient evidence. Therefore, it is important that police are better trained in investigation and crime-scene examination. At the same time, there is a need to reduce dependence on human evidence and to enhance forensic expertise. Effective witnesses protection programmes are vital. Without these, witnesses crucial to the prosecution’s case can easily be intimidated into silence.

At the same time, the law-enforcement agencies need to cope with new challenges by putting in place improved investigation, intelligence-gathering and intelligence-sharing mechanisms, and by developing a quick-response system. The rise in the number of acts of terrorism reflects the need for effective, efficient, resourceful and politically neutral policing and law-enforcement. Just as a better-trained and well-equipped police force is required to deal with the prevailing threat of militancy in the country, greater coordination and information-sharing between the intelligence community and the police is also critical, which will help in strengthening the prosecution process.

These steps are important not just in ensuring justice is done, but also in giving the police the confidence to take on the militants. If a police officer is afraid that the militants will be let off the hook and take revenge, who is going to have the confidence to stand up to the terrorists? Increased cooperation of the government with the judiciary in the establishment of an adequate number of ATCs and the recruitment of judges and other staff can prove to be a good first step.

Courtesy Dawn, April 18, 2011


13 April 2011

Nine acquitted in explosives caseFrom the Newspaper

| National | By Our Reporter April 13, 2011

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.


24 March 2011

Row over release of suspects by ATCs

From the Newspaper | Front Page |
By Ismail Khan March 24, 2011

Officials associated with the anti-terror effort attribute the recent surge in terrorist attacks in KP to the acquittal of militants by anti-terrorism courts. — File Photo
PESHAWAR: A row between anti-terrorism courts and security agencies over the release of militants by anti-terrorism courts, coupled with the federal government’s inability to push through a critical anti-terror amendment bill, may paralyse Islamabad’s effort to root out terrorism, officials familiar with several briefings given to the government and the military establishment revealed.

“We are heading for a paralysis,” a senior official commented. “The entire effort to catch these scums is going for six. You catch them and the next thing you know is they are out and back in business,” another frustrated official said.

Officials associated with the anti-terror effort attribute the recent surge in terrorist attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, among other things, to the acquittal of militants by anti-terrorism courts.

After a relatively long spell of quiet in terrorist activities, militants have struck back with a vengeance.

Official figures reveal a staggering spike in terrorist attacks in KP from December to March 20 with a total of 96 incidents, claiming almost two hundred lives and maiming hundreds of others. This is against a total of 101 acts of terror last year.

“Everyone worth knowing we had arrested is out, fighting us again,” a senior police official said.

At a briefing on the internal security situation last month, the government was informed that of the 1443 militants arrested, 695 had been bailed out mostly by appellate courts, while 48 others had been acquitted by anti-terrorism courts.

The acquittal rate was particularly high in the once-militants’ redoubt of Malakand, the briefing was informed.

The only conviction so far was delivered by an anti-terrorism court early this month where a militant, Noorani Gul was handed a sentence of 120 years in jail.

The overall conviction rate in terrorist cases, the official added, stood at five per cent. The situation became so alarming that officials from KP held a long meeting with senior military officials at the GHQ to find ways to overcome the problem.

Government officials cite several cases where, they believe, the courts refused to accept the prosecution evidence and set free extremely dangerous terrorists.

One such case, cited as an example, involved the arrest of two alleged suicide bombers along with a suicide jacket, 650 grams of high explosives, a detonating cord and a hand grenade in Peshawar.

The court in its judgment handed out in November last noted that any action must involve the use of explosives.

“In the instant case, there is no allegation that the accused used the explosives or were caught while using it or they threatened to use the same.

“So the inference here is that so long as the terrorist did not explode his suicide vest and kill people, it does not constitute a crime,” said a frustrated police investigator.

“And that the possession of a suicide vest does not mean that the bomber wanted to or threatened to use it. This is bizarre,” the official said.

The court in its judgment continued that explosives must be in the shape of a device and that the prosecution did not furnish any report to substantiate its case.

“A suicide jacket with a primer and a hand grenade are explosive devices. Do we need a report from any expert to prove that?” the official asked.

Also, the court noted that there was no allegation of a bomb blast and therefore, no case could be constituted under the 1997 Anti-Terrorist Act.

“Does this by implication mean that the suspect should have been allowed to explode the bomb?” the official said with a tinge of cynicism in his voice.

NO HOMEWORK: But legal experts blame police investigators and the prosecution for poor performance. “They don’t do their homework,” a legal expert said.

“The law requires them to submit examination report of explosives recovered and they don’t do that,” he pointed out.

In another case, an anti-terrorism court in Nowshera acquitted a man captured during a police raid in which a suicide bomber had blown himself up. The reason, according to the police, was the failure of a police official to appear before the court on account of his wedding.

But that may be just be the tip of the iceberg. Officials acknowledge that of more paramount concern is the trial of over two thousand suspected militants rounded up following the military operation in Swat in May 2009.

The militants – 50 per cent of them having been declared as black or extremely dangerous _ were captured by the military and continue to be in their custody.

“They were captured by the army, when the police was nowhere present in Swat,” a senior military official said.

There are many others who were seized by the intelligence agencies and later handed over to the police for legal requirements.But the problem, according to military officials and legal experts, is bringing the circumstance of the militants’ capture on record to fulfil requirements of the Anti-Terrorist Act.

The law requires witnesses and incriminating evidence to convict the militants while officials said that witnesses were usually too scared to come forward and testify before the courts.

Also, courts as a matter of law do not accept confessions made by militants to police and intelligence officials.

In one case, a security official said, the accused in a bomb explosion case in Peshawar had confessed to his crime and a copy of his video confession was submitted to the court, but he was acquitted and a statement by a police officer to testify as to the veracity of the confession was not entertained.

At the root of the entire issue, legal experts said, was the failure of the federal government to incorporate suitable amendments in the Anti-Terrorist Act, 1997.

An ordinance promulgated by President Zardari expired in May last year and a bill containing new amendments is still stuck in the Senate.

The KP government has informed the GHQ that it has no legal powers under the Constitution to amend the law on its own and that the federal government would have to push through the proposed amendments in the ATA, 1997 and also introduce a new counter-insurgency law to provide for the army’s role in the arrest, detention and transfer of militants to civil law enforcement agencies.

The counter-insurgency law, a senior government official said, might take two to three months to take effect.

“We have been pressing the federal government for the early passage of the amendments in the ATA. All state institutions, including the military, have weighed in to highlight the urgency of the matter. But somehow the federal government seems to be least bothered,” the official said.


9 Feb 2011

Apex court acquits Ichhra blast accused

From the Newspaper | Metropolitan > Lahore | By Our Staff Reporter February 9, 2011
LAHORE, Feb 8: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted an accused involved in Ichhra bicycle bomb blast five years ago.

An anti-terrorism court had awarded life imprisonment on two counts to Asghar Ali and the Lahore High Court upheld the sentence.

The police had arrested Asghar, a resident of Sadiqabad, who allegedly had sold the bicycle which was later used for the blast.

The SC bench headed by Justice M.A. Shahid Siddiqui observed that there was no cogent evidence that the accused had sold the bicycle.


9 Feb 2011

Shershah scrap market case: Tenth suspect acquitted
Published: February 9, 2011

File photo of Shershah market. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS
KARACHI: Ali Nawaz, the tenth person booked by the police for his alleged involvement in the Shershah scrap market shooting, was acquitted by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah on Tuesday.
The Administrative Judge of the anti-terrorism courts (ATCs) decided his plea for acquittal as the identification test failed.
This acquittal comes only a day after Muhammad Nafees, the complainant of the Shershah scrap market carnage case, in application to the ATC Administrative Judge expressed no confidence in the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) and appealed to the judge to transfer investigations of the case to the CID police. The judge had put the special public prosecutor on notice for February 12 to decide the transfer application.
On Tuesday, the counsel for the accused moved an application before the Administrative Judge, maintaining that like the nine other accused were released due to lack of evidence, his client should also be acquitted as none of the witnesses identified him as one of the assailants during the identification parade held inside the Central Prison, Karachi, a few days ago. The two witnesses had only identified Shafi Muhammad and Aslam Pervez.
Earlier, nine men, Muhammad Tufail, Abid Ali, Asghar Ali, Tahseen, Abdul Rasheed, Johar, Muhammad Aijaz, Muhammad Iqbal and Muhammad Akbar were acquitted by the Administrative Judge on January 26 as the complainant failed to identify them.
Meanwhile, three others, Hameed alias Mulla Raju, Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla and Rashid are still absconding.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2011.


30 Jan 2011

Former MNA acquitted in Pole`s murder case

From the Newspaper | Back Page | January 30, 2011

Police officers escorts to former lawmaker Shah Abdul Aziz, center, after his appearance in Anti-Terrorist Court in Rawalpindi.—AP/File photo

RAWALPINDI: An anti-terrorism court on Saturday acquitted for want of evidence former MNA Shah Abdul Aziz and another man of kidnapping and beheading a Polish geologist.

ATC-II Special Judge Raja Ikhlaq Ahmed absolved the former MNA, hailing from Karak and belonging to JUI-S, and Attaullah, of Kohat, of the charges of kidnapping Poitr Stanczak from Jand Attock and later beheading the foreign geologist.

The victim was working for a Polish seismic survey company in Basal area. He was kidnapped on Sept 28, 2008, and his guard, constable Mohammad Saleem, driver Inayatullah and assistant driver Mohammad Riaz were killed. In February last year, the kidnappers released a seven-minute video showing the beheading.

Mr Attaullah was arrested in Islamabad by Sabzi Mandi police on July 15 during a search operation and three grenades, a machine gun and 30 bullets were seized from him.

During interrogation, the accused “confessed” that he and his accomplices had kidnapped Mr Stanczak at the behest of Shah Abdul Aziz and taken the geologist to the tribal areas where he was killed after the authorities did not fulfil the ransom demand. Dawn

But talking to , Mr Attaullah`s counsel Basharatullah Khan said the confessional statement was recorded in English, but the accused only spoke and understood Pashto and he did not know what had been written in the statement.

The former MNA`s brother had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court in early 2009 for recovery of Mr Aziz, alleging that personnel of intelligence agencies had taken him away with his driver from the federal capital.

Public Prosecutor Malik Mohammad Asghar said the decision would be challenged in high court because the trial court had ignored some important facts.


19 Jan 2011

Three Lashkar-i-Jhangvi convicts acquitted
Multān : Pakistan | Jan 19, 2011


Lahore High Court Multan Bench ‘s Special division bench consist on Mr. Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan and Mr.Justice Waqar Hassan Mir has acquitted three convicts belonging to banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi granting them benefit of doubt because the prosecution failed to prove the charges


6 Jan 2011:

`Militant` acquitted in four cases

From the Newspaper | Peshawar | Bureau Report January 6, 2011
PESHAWAR, Jan 5: An anti-terrorism court has acquitted a suspected militant in four cases of terrorism including beheading of a police constable and attack on police station and a security post.

The court presided over by Anwar Ali Khan observed that the prosecution failed to prove the cases against the accused, Qaiser Khan.

The said four cases had occurred in the jurisdiction of Matani police station in 2008. In the first case a police constable, Fakhr Zaman, was beheaded and his body was thrown in Matani area. Another case was about rockets attack on Matani police station whereas the third case was about destruction of a police post on Frontier Road. The fourth case was regarding attack on a telephone exchange.

The accused, a resident of Adezai Village in Matani, was later arrested and charged in the said cases.

Advocate Shan Asghar appeared for the accused and argued that these cases were of no evidence as no eyewitness had appeared to testify against the accused.

He contended that a person could not be convicted merely on the basis of rumours.

The counsel argued that the police had claimed that several militants were involved in these offences which mostly took place during nighttime and the attackers could not be recognised.

Moreover, he stated that the investigation officer had not sent the writing samples of the accused to an expert to prove that his writing resembled that of the chit, which was lying near the body of the slain cop.

He argued that the accused had been behind the bars for the last two years but the prosecution could not prove anything against him.


4 Jan 2011

Pakistan releases top al Qaeda-linked terrorist leader

January 4, 2011

Qari Saifullah Akhtar.

A senior Pakistani terrorist linked to al Qaeda and the country’s intelligence service has been released from “protective custody.”

Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI, or the Movement of Islamic Holy War), was released in early December after being taken into protective custody in August 2010. HUJI is closely linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban. Ilyas Kashmiri, the operational commander for HUJI, also serves as al Qaeda’s military commander and is a senior leader on al Qaeda’s external operations council. HUJI is also supported by Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.

Akhtar’s release was first reported in The News on Dec. 28, 2010. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal said that they believe the report is accurate.

Pakistani intelligence officials took Akhtar into custody in August after he was supposedly wounded in a US Predator strike in North Waziristan, The News reported. He traveled to Peshawar and then Rawalpindi, where he was taken into custody and then moved to Lahore for treatment and subsequently placed in an ISI safe house.

A US intelligence official told The Long War Journal that it is thought that Akhtar was was not arrested, but “placed in protective custody so he can be treated for his injuries and debriefed.”

Akhtar was placed into custody at the same time that five Americans who were recruited by the HUJI leader were convicted in a Pakistani court of attempting join al Qaeda to carry out attacks for the terror network. The five Americans were recruited by Akhtar via the Internet and traveled to Pakistan in November 2009. They were arrested by police in Sargodha before they could travel to North Waziristan to join al Qaeda. [See LWJ report, Top al Qaeda leader linked to 5 Americans on trial in Pakistan.]

Another US intelligence official said that the timing of Akhtar’s detention and the conviction of the five American jihadis was “no coincidence.”

“Pakistan’s ISI often brings in its top assets when the heat is turned up; they are placed in safehouses to avoid being targeted, or to get them out of the limelight,” the official told The Long War Journal.

“This has happened in the recent past, with LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba] emir Hafiz Saeed and JeM [Jaish-e-Mohammed] emir Masood Azhar after Mumbai in 2008,” the official said, referring to the deadly terror assault on the Indian city of Mumbai that killed more than 170 people.

Both Saeed and Azhar were identified by the Indian government as being involved in the Mumbai attacks. Both were placed under house arrest and freed months later by the Pakistani government.

Background on Qari Saifullah Akhtar and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami

Qari Saifullah Akhtar and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami have worked with the Taliban and al Qaeda for more than a decade. In 2002, The Friday Times described the HUJI as “the biggest militia we know nothing about.”

HUJI was formed by Islamist extremists inside Pakistan’s Punjab province in the early 1980s to help battle the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. After the defeat of the Soviets in 1989, HUJI turned its focus to fighting the Indian Army inside Jammu and Kashmir. The group maintained camps throughout Pakistan. The largest camp, in Kotli in Azad Kashmir, had “a capacity for training 800 warriors.” As of 2002, more than 650 HUJI fighters had been killed fighting the Indian Army.

Like many Pakistani-based jihadi groups fighting in Kashmir, the HUJI received support from Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence. The group has offices in more than 40 locations inside Pakistan and maintained “organized seminaries in Karachi, and Chechnya, [Xinxiang], Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.” Its members have participated in attacks and fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The leader of the Bangladeshi branch of HUJI was one of the original signatories of Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa against the West. This fatwa, or religious ruling, established the International Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders and officially incorporated various Islamic terror groups such as Ayman al Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Akhtar took control of the HUJI after the group’s leader was killed fighting the Soviets in 1985. He expanded HUJI’s infrastructure throughout Pakistan and in Afghanistan. Akhtar largely stayed off the radar until he emerged as being part of a plot to overthrow the Pakistani government in 1995, when he was implicated along with Major General Zahirul Islam Abbasi and three other senior officers in an attempt to assassinate senior military leaders during a Corps Commanders Conference at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Charges against Akhtar were dismissed after he testified against his conspirators. Abbasi was released from detention after President Musharraf took power in a coup in 1999.

The Pakistani government released Akhtar in 1996, and he promptly fled to Afghanistan, where he became a close confidant and adviser to Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Three members in the Taliban’s cabinet and 22 judges were members of HUJI. Akhtar has been described as a “crucial figure” in the efforts to unite Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden.

HUJI established training camps in Kandahar, Kabul, and Khost. Taliban military and police forces were also trained at HUJI camps. HUJI became a critical force in the Taliban’s efforts to consolidate power in Afghanistan in the 1990s, and more than 300 HUJI fighters were killed fighting against the Northern Alliance. HUJI also used its bases in Afghanistan to conduct operations in Chechnya, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

Akhtar accompanied Mullah Omar as he fled the US onslaught during Operation Enduring Freedom after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Omar moved his operations to Quetta in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. Akhtar took shelter in South Waziristan, where he was born, and established links with Baitullah Mehsud, the former commander of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who was killed in a US Predator strike in August 2009.

After being implicated in two attempts to assassinate Pervez Musharraf in December 2003, Akhtar fled to Saudi Arabia, ultimately taking refuge in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE arrested Akhtar in August 2004 and deported him to Pakistan, where he was held for more than two years without trial. The Pakistani security services released Akhtar in May 2007 after the Supreme Court began inquiring about a number of missing persons.

Pakistani security forces detained Akhtar once again in February 2008 after he was implicated in several bombings, the most prominent being the October 2007 suicide attack in Karachi that aimed to assassinate former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as she returned from exile to begin her political campaign.

Bhutto, who was later assassinated in an attack in Rawalpindi in December 2007, implicated Akhtar in her posthumously released book. “I was informed of a meeting that had taken place in Lahore where the bomb blasts were planned. However, a bomb maker was needed for the bombs,” Bhutto wrote. “Enter Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a wanted jihadi terrorist who had tried to overthrow my second government in the 1990s. He had been extradited by the United Arab Emirates and was languishing in the Karachi central jail. According to my sources, the officials in Lahore had turned to Qari for help. His liaison with elements in the government was a radical who was asked to make the bombs and he himself asked for a fatwa making it legitimate to oblige. He got one.”

The Pakistani government released Akhtar from jail on bail in June 2008 after claiming that the evidence was insufficient to link him to recent attacks. Akhtar is believed to have fled to North Waziristan.

Akhtar is one of the main leaders of the September 2008 suicide attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad. Akhtar acted in concert with Qari Zafar, the leader of the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Fedayeen-i-Islam. Zafar was killed in the Feb. 24, 2010, airstrike in the town of Dargi Mandi near Miramshah in North Waziristan.

Read more:



Why every Terrorist get acquitted in Punjab

Almost all terrorists arrested so far has been acquitted in Punjab. Even those about whom TV stations ran live programs for hours and there is plenty of evidence and witnesses.
Chief Justice Lahore High Court claims that police investigation is poor and evidence insufficient. As a matter of fact he himself is pro-extremism and very sympathetic to terrorists.
If believed that police is not doing sufficent to get terrorists punished as CJ blames to prosecution then Rana Maqbool, a proclaimed offender and person having closed links with extremists can be blamed as he heads the prosecution branch in Punjab Police.
Police claims that Judges are sympathetic towards terrorists and some time they acquit them under threat as well, if believed then what Punjab government is doing to provide protection to judges.
Chief Minister Punjab claims there are no militants in Punjab, if so, then who threatens judges and who judges favour because of close links.
What can be real cause? Judges, Prosecution or Punjab Government?
Great point. Although I agree that the judges seem sympathetic towards terrorists, I have to admit that there is a general difficulty in dealing with terrorism through civilian criminal proceedings. In the US, special laws have been passed to make it easier to collect admissible evidence against terrorists. Even then, foreign terrorists may be subjected to military tribunals rather than civilian courts, such as the Guantonamo Bay detainees, or transported to other countries with looser protections.
I guess it comes down to which side you want to err on. I think having a separate set of standards for terrorists is fine as long as strict oversight is maintained to ensure that the standards are applied only to terrorists and not to others. Unfortunately that’s difficult to do. In the US, new laws that were supposed to be used to prosecute people using weapons of mass destruction are being massively abused. For instance, I’ve read about people being charged with possession of a WMD — for having a sawed-off shotgun, since it was modified to do more damage than a normal shotgun. Utterly ridiculous.
Laila Ebadi
ghundagard did you see these two articles about the federal governments appeal against the marriott bombing case acquittal. It raises a lot of questions about the ATC of justice malik muhammad akram awan:
Whatever Laws, these courts and prosecution cannot convict the simple Ghunda of our class. If some judge/police office doesn’t want to take money, then pay same money to high ups and buy pressure. Even if that doesn’t work, then threat always work.
But that is not an issue here while we have broken institutions.
Question is are these broken institutions being allowed to function in their already deteriorated capacity.
Police prosecution even want to do their best, still head of prosecution Rana Maqbool has close ties with extremists. The Law minister from same family of Rana Maqbool, Chief prosecutor wouldn’t let police do the job. Every second Lawyer has his picture with Chief Justice, and top judges are openly pro-militants.
And still there is a good case, then few threats to judge work!
Why should judge of ATC take risk while he knows that Khawja Sharif will free them. In this situation, as per my criminal experience, unless federal government, judiciary and provincial governments are on board, a top class Ghunda like me can not be convicted.
Agree? And if so, Bhai ke han mein han milao, agar jan piyare hey tu !
Ahmed Iqbalabadi
It is all but ironic that “encounters” are the best option due to the inability of the courts to punish the terrorists. Apologies for my extreme idea.
It’s really sad to note that no steps are being taken to amend PPC in order to deny bail or acquittal of terrorists associated with TTP/SSP/LeJ !!!



20 Dec 2010

Kill the sectarian killers: Will Pakistan follow the Iranian example?


15 Dec 2010

Man acquitted in Melody suicide attack case

From the Newspaper | Metropolitan > Islamabad | By Our Reporter December 15, 2010
RAWALPINDI, Dec 14: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) here on Tuesday acquitted a man in a suicide attack case in which 15 policemen and two civilians near Islamabad`s Melody Market were killed in July 2008.

The policemen were on duty outside a congregation to mark the first anniversary of the military operation against Lal Masjid.

ATC-I Judge Malik Mohammad Akram Awan acquitted Qari Ilyas in the suicide case registered with Aabpara police station on July 6, 2008. The accused along with eight other men has already been absolved from the charges of arranging suicide attack on the surgeon general of Pakistan Army in February 2008.

Terming Ilyas, a resident of Chakwal, a hardened militant, police had told the court that he was seen directing the suicide bomber just before the attack on the policy party near Melody Market.

The prosecution cited two policemen as witnesses, saying they had seen the accused with the man who carried out the attack. Later, the witnesses identified Ilyas when he was in police custody.

But the prosecution could not fulfill the requirement of identification parade in the jail under the supervision of a magistrate, casting doubts about the claim of witnesses.

Ilyas, accused of helping suicide attackers in different cases in the twin cities, was arrested with eight men from a locality near Rawalpindi city in January 2009.

23 Nov 2010

Lawyer acquitted of maid’s murder

From the Newspaper | Metropolitan > Lahore | By Our Staff Reporter November 23, 2010
LAHORE, Nov 22: Additional sessions judge Ameer Muhammad Khan on Monday acquitted former Lahore Bar Association president Chaudhry Muhammad Naeem and his four family members of murder of their 12-year-old maid, Shazia Masih.

The Defense-A police had registered a case against Advocate Naeem, his wife, son, daughter in-law and sister-in-law on charges of torturing Shazia to death in January this year. During the trial, witnesses, however, gave testimony in favour of the accused.

The court after recording the testimony of witnesses and in the light of medical report declared that Shazia was not murdered but she suffered a natural death.

The death of the maid had resulted into massive protests by members of the Christian community.

Bashir Masih, father of the victim, had alleged that family of the lawyer had not informed him about the bad health of his daughter. Even, he had no information about admission of her daughter to a hospital. He alleged that the accused persons concealed facts about the death of his daughter as they had tortured her daughter to death.

Initial medical report had also confirmed that the girl’s body had marks of wounds caused by a sharp-edged weapon, her right arm and ribs were fractured, her skull was damaged and her nails had been plucked out.

However, subsequent medical reports declared that some fatal infection in girl’s body had resulted into her death.


13 Nov 2010

Who will save Pakistani prosecutors from the joint wrath of the ISI and extremist Deobandis?


26 Sep 2010

Suspects in Danish embassy blast acquitted
By Mudassir Raja

September 26, 2010

RAWALPINDI, Sept 25 An anti-terrorism court acquitted on Saturday three men charged over a car bomb attack outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad two years ago, citing lack of evidence.
Judge Malik Mohammad Akran Awan acquitted Mohammad Ilyas alias Qari Jamil, Mohammad Rizwan and Ray Shakir Ali of June 2, 2008 bomb blast in which three men were killed and 25 injured.

In his verbal order, the judge cited lack of evidence against the accused as the main reason for their acquittal.

Chaudhry Zahid Mehmood, who represented Qari Jamil, said there were clear contradictions in the statements of two constables of the Kohsar police, adding that after those statements it was expected that the suspects would be acquitted.

The lawyer said that the constables gave contradictory statements about the presence of the accused at the blast site and about the process to identifying them.

He said there was no other evidence linking the three men to the case.

Six other suspects — Mohammad Naeem, Zeeshan Raheel, Mohammad Sarfaraz, Faisal Ahmed Khan, Mohammad Nadeem and Dr Abdul Razzaq – had already been cleared of the charge.

According to the prosecution, the nine suspects were arrested on Jan 29, 2009, in the jurisdiction of Rawalpindi`s Saddar Berooni police along with explosive material and later police witnesses identified them as those involved in the car bomb attack outside the Danish embassy.

The nine had already been acquitted by a trial court of the murder of a surgeon-general in Rawalpindi earlier this year.

AFP adds “The court observed that the prosecution failed to prove the charges and acquitted the three accused men,” senior prosecutor Mohammad Tayyab said.

“We will file an appeal in the high court within the 30 days` stipulated period,” Mr Tayyab said.

“The court had objected that during the identification parade of the accused men, required procedure was not followed, which is just a technicality,” Mr Tayyab added.


25 Sep 2010: Pakistan Danish embassy bombing suspects acquitted

By Kamran Haider

ISLAMABAD | Sat Sep 25, 2010
(Reuters) – A Pakistani court acquitted Saturday three men accused of involvement in a 2008 suicide car-bomb attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad, a public prosecutor said.

The court acquitted the trio on the basis of “insufficient” evidence against them, the prosecutor, Mohammad Tayyab, told Reuters.

“We produced 32 witnesses before the court. Two of those saw (the trio) them on the spot signaling attackers to go ahead and later identified them in a police station,” said Tayyab.

“But still the judge found insufficient evidence.”

The men were arrested several months after the attack that killed six people. An al Qaeda leader said one of the bombers had come from Saudi Arabia.

Tayyab said he would challenge the acquittal in the high court.

“We believe our case is very strong and the high court will analyze our evidence again and decide the case in our favor,” he said.

Suspects in terrorism-related cases are often acquitted due to what critics say is law enforcement agencies’ inefficiency and outdated investigative methods.

Pakistan has been fighting al Qaeda- and Taliban- linked militants who have killed thousands of people in suicide and bomb attacks since Islamabad joined the U.S.-led war on terror after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.


6 July 2010

Acquittal of Marriott attack accused challenged
By Mudassir Raja

The federal government filed an appeal in the LHC against the acquittal of four men in the Marriot hotel suicide attack case. — File Photo

RAWALPINDI The federal government filed an appeal on Monday in the Lahore High Court against the acquittal of four men in the Marriot hotel suicide attack case. The federal government has requested the court to direct the trial court to decide the case only after hearing arguments of the prosecution.
ATC-I Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan, in his May 5 verdict, had acquitted Dr Mohammad Usman, Rana Ilyas, Tehseenullah Jan and Mohammad Hameed Afzal, citing lack of evidence and witnesses against the accused.

Challenging the judgment of the ATC-I under section 265-K of criminal procedure code, the government maintained in the appeal that the case was decided without going through full material available against the accused.

The government said the trial court had decided the case in haste in the absence of the prosecutor as he had been pursuing cases in other anti-terrorism courts. A request of the investigation officer, DSP Altaf Aziz Khattak, for an adjournment was not accepted by the ATC judge, according to the government.

Underlining legal shortcomings in the verdict of the ATC, the government said that the judge, instead of accepting the submission of the investigation officer for an adjournment, treated as a deposition that he did not want to record his statement.

It said that the prosecution moved an application with the court about recording the statement of the investigation officer, but the application was turned down on April 28.

The government said that the prosecution cited 128 witnesses against the accused and 84 of them deposed before the court and before others got their statements recorded, the trial court acquitted the accused.

The appellant said that the court, while acquitting the accused, did not consider the gravity of the case and accepted the plea of the accused without hearing the prosecution.

The government prayed to the LHC to remand back the case to the ATC for retrial and direct the judge to decide the matter after allowing the prosecution to put up evidence, which, according to the petition, was enough for getting a guilty verdict.


7 July 2010

Why Pakistan can’t convict any terrorists: Part III – by Eqbal Alavi


4 July 2010

Haunting acquittals – by Babar Sattar


30 June 2010

Convicted teacher of terror training acquitted by whom? Justice Khwaja Sharif


22 June 2010

The looming catastrophe – By Kamran Shafi


ON June 20, four terrorists, allegedly belonging to the murderous Jundullah, who were standing trial for bombing the Ashura procession in Karachi last December, were freed by six allegedly fellow terrorists from the Karachi courts in an armed attack in which hand-grenades were used.

On June 21, Iran hanged the Pakistan ID card-carrying Abdul Malek Rigi, the head of Jundallah — not to be confused with the group mentioned earlier — for various acts of terror including the killing of six senior commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Please recall that in late February this year, Iranian air force warplanes forced the aircraft carrying Rigi from the UAE to Kyrgyzstan to the ground in Iran whereupon he was arrested. There you go, gentlemen: juxtapose Iran, a country that knows how to identify, apprehend and punish those who would do it harm with the Land of the Pure where all manner of horrendous monsters hold sway and swagger about with impunity due to ‘lack of evidence’.

Others of course do not even appear in court, such as the beauty Muslim Khan who used to pronounce death sentences from Mullah Radio’s FM station (that could not be found for four long years and more by the world’s fifth-largest army!) upon Swat’s poor people on a nightly basis. Sentences that used to be car ried out with impunity and chilling cruelty the very same evening, the headless bodies of the unfortunates hung upside down electricity poles, the head lying on the victims shoes beneath the body. Where the devil is Muslim Khan, please, gentlemen? Well, there you go … where indeed is Mullah Fazlullah who was said to have been killed last month?

Which is only one of the reasons that makes me say that a huge calamity is about to hit us with devastating consequences for our poor country and its helpless people. For, how possibly can we be rid of terror when we don’t rid ourselves of the terrorists? But who exactly are the ‘terrorists’ and who our ‘friends’? This is the greatest conundrum of all, is it not, specially when we let our preferences among the Taliban be known to the world: Haqqanis good.

Add to that the belligerence with which we demand a seat at the bargaining table to ensure a government in Afghanistan which would be friendly towards Pakistan post the Nato/Isaf withdrawal and you have the perfect recipe for unmitigated disaster.

For, how possibly can Pakistan demand virtual veto power over an Afghan solution when the vast majority of Afghans, Pakhtun and nonPakhtun alike, cannot abide us? Is it at all possible that our great security planners think that supporting the Haqqanis alone will get us enough leverage in all of Afghanistan? If so they need to get into their spaceships and come back to earth.

More than anything else, and I make the point once again, our last experience with the Taliban has not been an altogether pleasant one. None of Pakistan’s concerns, whether it was the Durand Line problem, or any other such as giving refuge to Pakistani criminals, on not one matter were the Taliban prepared to even listen to Pakistan’s entreaties let alone do our bidding. So why the continuing madness please?

In any case how can a poor, aid-dependent country which is riven with its own existential problems, become a player on the international stage? If we haven’t even now learnt that it does no good to box above one’s weight, we never will. If our brilliant planners do not drastically change course we will all be engulfed by fires the likes of which even we have not seen.

It is obvious that we must begin to look inward, to attempt to make our people a happy and a contented people by providing their children with good education and health facilities, and consequently, job opportunities. A contented populace is the best defence against all comers.

They will not, of course, despite the recent spate of articles and editorials and rumours and leaks about Afghanistan; Pakistan’s Fata and the baddies it hosts; and American patience running out in more ways than one which make for quite frightening reading. Frightening reading for all who do not live on another planet of course.

What Pakistan’s present stance on Afghanistan will get this country, only the Rommels and the Guderians who run Pakistan’s security (read foreign) policy can tell us. Which again brings me to implore our political leaders to stand together and defeat the designs of those who have too often taken the country down disaster’s way. The two large political forces, the PPP and the PML-N, simply must stand shoulder to shoulder, or, as predicted earlier, fall one by one taking the country down with them.

And now a bit more about Palampur, a most beautiful place with the most breathtaking surroundings. The most stunning aspect of the hills and mountains that lie to the north of the town is that there are three rows if you like, the first up to about 2,000 feet thickly covered in pine and deodar forests, just behind which lies another row of absolutely bare mountains soaring to a height of about 10,000 feet, behind which are the sheer slopes of the snow-covered mountains of the Dauladhar range higher than the highest mountains that can be seen from Skardu city.

Because the climate is temperate, Palampur is home to every species of bird you can imagine: from red and yellowvented bulbuls to sunbirds to mynahs to Alexandrine parakeets and peacocks, to every type of warbler and lark and finch. Palampur is full of birds and birdsong.

Black partridge can be heard calling on the road from Shimla to Palampur and flocks, yes flocks, of grey partridge can be found feeding on the road itself reminding me of Khojak Pass in the 1970s when flocks, yes flocks, of chukors could be seen on the road. It is a magical place, Palampur. ¦


22 June 2010

The Looming Catastrophe – by Kamran Shafi


21 June 2010

Why terrorists get acquitted – by Chaudhry Fawad Hussain


21 June 2010

Jundullah Terorrist frees Ashura accused from Karachi City Court

Written by jafarianews on 21 June 2010
JNN 20.06.10 Karachi : Six armed men got four of their accomplices freed from police custody after they attacked the security personnel with hand grenades in the City Courts on Saturday. A police constable and an under-trial prisoner lost their lives in the exchange of fire.

The four freed men were being tried, among other cases, for the suicide attack on an Karachi Ashura procession in December last year that killed more than 40 people.

The 10-minute episode, which saw a shootout between police and the fleeing terrorists, left people in and around the courts in a daze. Shopkeepers in the city’s busiest commercial area downed shutters as the daring attempt set off a wave of panic.

The attack took place at 3.15pm when the four suspects — Shah Murad, Murtaza Inayat, Mohammad Wazeer and Shakeeb Farooqi — were being escorted by police to the ground floor after a hearing.

As the suspects were taking rest, two policemen guarding them, four men emerged, threw a hand grenade and opened fire, killing Mohammad Shahbaz, a constable.

The attackers fled along with the four suspects. According to Iqbal Mahmood, the DIG South, they belonged to the Jundullah group.

Advocate Riaz Afandi, an eyewitness, said he saw the armed men, in shalwar-kameez, running away with the suspects.

“Three hand grenades were thrown in separate places of the court which suggested that the attackers were not concentrated in one place. They were believed to be all around the building and kept shooting for a few minutes,” he added.

Investigators believed that the attackers and the suspects escaped separately on different directions using different mode of transportation.

“One of the fleeing suspects, Shah Murad, was killed by our chasing party in Jodia Bazaar,” DIG Mahmood said.

But an official, who examined the body of Murad, said he died after the hand-grenade he was carrying went off. “We don’t know whether it’s a suicide attempt or the pin of the grenade went off unintentionally when he was exchanging fire with policemen,” he added.

His findings matched the initial report of medico legal officials at the Civil Hospital. It said the lower torso of Murad was blown away with the force of explosion.

“We also received three injured — Abdul Kalam, Sarfaraz Hussain and Usman — who were hit by bullets. Two of them are stable, but Hussain is in critical condition because he suffered a bullet wound in his head,” a medico legal officer said. The four suspects, all in their mid and late 20s, were arrested in January by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) on Hawkesbay Road in Mauripur, allegedly after a shootout. They were facing 11 cases, including three consecutive bomb blasts on the 8th, 9th and 10th of Muharram.

“The suspects are in fact third tier of Jundullah,” said SIU SP Raja Umar Khattab, who was appointed head of a police team tasked to arrest the attackers and the suspects. He said the terrorist group was involved in attacks on policemen and bank robberies.

The SP said two of the suspects snatched a motorcycle after leaving the City Courts premises. The bike was recovered in Risala area.

“The owner of the motorcycle told us that two injured armed men snatched the bike on gunpoint. This suggests that at least two attackers were injured during the encounter with police, SP Khattab said, adding that initial findings suggested that four to six armed men were involved in the attack.

The lawyers’ community condemned the attack and criticised the police high-ups for their failure in providing required security at the City Courts building.

The Karachi Bar Association announced an indefinite strike from Monday.

City police chief Waseem Ahmed said that there were no surveillance cameras in City Courts and several entrances to the premises were kept open despite concerns raised several times.

“These arrangements should be made by the court administration and the institutions concerned. We are already short of strength and the number of personnel deployed at the court is within available resources,” he added.

He said there was also a question mark on the information provided by the jail authorities about the four suspects before they were handed over to police for producing them before the respective court.

“For such dangerous suspects, we make special security arrangements under the guidance of the jail authorities. In this case, such information has not been passed on.”

The city police chief said that a committee, headed by the DIG south, had been set up to look into the matter.

Govt blamed for unenforced security plan

The attack on the City Courts by men carrying hand grenades and sophisticated weapons on Saturday, who ran away with their undertrial aides facing trial in the Ashura blast and other high-profile cases, put a question mark over the security arrangements on the sensitive premises decided in February under the directives of the Sindh High Court chief justice.

A senior police official confirmed that a series of meetings more than four months ago led to a comprehensive security plan for the City Courts building — a place regularly visited by many persons

wanted in different cases — after the courts administration and the legal fraternity raised serious concerns over the existing arrangements.

“The proposal was forwarded to the police authorities through the DIG-South and the SSP-Security at that time,” said the official citing several measures suggested. “Though several steps were incorporated in the final proposal, the basic point of the whole exercise was restricted and monitored entry into the courts premises coupled with an increased number of policemen and reconstruction of the boundary walls surrounding the City Courts, which are so low that anyone can jump over.”

However, he showed ignorance about any action on the proposal, which might have prevented the deadly attack by the armed persons, who did not go through any security checks while entering the courts with loads of weapons and grenades.

The meetings were also recalled by Karachi Bar Association president Mahmood-ul-Hasan, who blamed police authorities and the home minister for the incident by “ignoring security of the key areas and enjoying more than justifiable protocol personally”.

“After a meeting under the Sindh High Court chief justice, several sittings were held under the chairmanship of the district and sessions judge (west) in February 2010,” he said. “It was decided that gate No 2 would be reserved only for staff vehicles and those with stickers issued by the authorities. The height of the boundary wall around the courts would also be increased as it is currently so low that anyone can jump over.”

Both the KBA leader and senior police official cited that a pedestrian thoroughfare was also decided to be built and a number of female police officials would be deployed at each entrance while hand scanners would be given to guards to check every single entrant to the courts.

“The arrangements were to be made both by the Sindh government and the police authorities,” said Mr Hasan of the KBA. “But we don’t know the current status of that plan. The level of security we have here now, no one should have any doubt that people determined to do any terrorism activity can do it without any resistance.”

The latest violent episode came as a grim reminder of the last year’s incidents in which nearly a dozen undertrial prisoners (UTPs), including those facing murder charges, escaped from the city courts on their own. The last one was reported only in April 2010 when a UTP facing robbery charges slipped away from the City Courts premises without facing any resistance from the policemen posted there.

The city police chief agreed that the level of security for the UTPs remained below the required level, adding that the law-enforcers planned and moved under the given resources.

“But let me assure you that if we find anyone guilty of negligence, he would face action. We need to look into the incident’s details before reaching any final conclusion about the security arrangements,” said Capital City Police Officer Waseem Ahmed.

Posted in Pakistan News, jafaria news | Comments Off


9 June 2010

Why Pakistan can’t convict terrorists: Part II – by Eqbal Alavi


31 May 2010

Why can’t Pakistan convict any terrorists? Part I – by Rabia Shakoor and Eqbal Alavi


30 May 2010

On May 30, Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid was acquitted in the Children’s Library case.


25 May 2010

May 25, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals filed by the authorities challenging the release from house arrest of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed (ordered by the Lahore High Court).


13 May 2010

Justice Raja Ikhlaq Hussain of Rawalpindi ATC No. II acquitted nine persons allegedly involved in a suicide attack, which had killed the then Surgeon General of Pakistan, Lieutenant General Mushtaq Ahmed Baig, and eight others in Rawalpindi on February 25, 2008, in the jurisdiction of the RA Bazaar Police Station.


9 May 2010

Trial of terror suspects? – by Huma Yusuf

Ajmal Kasab’s conviction and sentencing to death came as no surprise. The Pakistani Foreign Office mumbled a muted response, promising to study the judgment in detail. Indians meanwhile celebrated the conviction as a sign of the vitality of their judicial system.

But few could be naïve enough to think that Kasab’s conviction will deter future acts of terror. Or that it will help Mumbai’s residents put the horrifying attacks behind them. Or even that it will boost diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan.

Since the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre, many have debated the utility of prosecuting terrorists. Those convicted are often indifferent to verdicts handed down against them, and successful convictions have yet to discourage would-be terrorists. And yet, in this morally dubious war against terror, nothing could be more important than ensuring due process for terror suspects. This is a lesson Pakistan should internalise and espouse as it conducts the trials of six men accused of plotting the Mumbai attacks as well as hundreds of other suspected terrorists detained during military operations in Fata and the northwest.

Late last year, a high-ranking police official told me that the best way to deal with terror suspects was to eliminate them in extrajudicial ‘encounters’. He reasoned it was the fastest way to put them out of action. Some may say there is twisted logic to such thinking, but the approach is untenable for various reasons.

Primarily, due process reiterates the legitimacy of a democratic state, since the notion that all citizens are equal before the law is a key principle of democracy. Due process differentiates between democracies and authoritarian governments (or, for that matter, terror cells). A state that arbitrarily kills its citizens — no matter how heinous the crimes they may have committed — cannot aspire to legitimacy. And a legitimate state is the best antidote to terrorism, which thrives on power vacuums.

Moreover, for democracy to work, different organs of the state have to be accountable to the public. Trials, unlike ‘encounters’, are guided by the rule of law — transparent and open to public scrutiny. In its very set-up, the judicial system offers the public recourse to question the state’s actions.

It is ironic that Pakistanis who consistently speak out against US drone attacks are not vociferously demanding fair trials for all detained terror suspects. After all, the complaint against drone attacks is that they are a form of extrajudicial killing — capital punishment that is not preceded by a trial. We should demand that our own government gives up all extrajudicial activity — the detention, interrogation and punishment of terror suspects beyond the ambit of the law — before applying high standards to foreign powers.

Due process is essential on a practical level, too. Trials necessitate the building of a case — gathering evidence, tracking down witnesses and pursuing unanswered questions. Kasab’s trial, for instance, forced the Indian authorities to find concrete proof to back accusations that Pakistanis were involved in the Mumbai attacks.

In Pakistan’s current predicament, the prompt trial of terror suspects could help address the plague of militant networks. Judicial processes such as cross-questioning and permitting certain evidence could help answer questions about militant movement, terror financing and the alleged involvement of international forces or the intelligence agencies. Given the intelligence black hole that currently mars counter-terrorism initiatives, such information from the field could prove invaluable.

Sadly, Pakistan’s judicial system is in no position to ensure due process for terror suspects. The government never clarified whether military operations against militants were law-enforcement actions or operations ‘in aid of civil power’. It is thus unclear whether suspects should be tried in mobile military courts under the Action in Aid of Civil Power Ordinance (1998) or in regular sessions courts. Arbitrarily, last October Rehman Malik declared that terror suspects would face trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

Although the Supreme Court has set up special committees to monitor anti-terror courts (ATC), the system is a mess. ATCs nationwide face significant dockets, and many terror suspects detained as early as 2008 will not face trial until next year.

State prosecutors are expected to perform under the worst circumstances: the extended networks of terror suspects threaten their security, and complainants and witnesses refuse to testify in ATC proceedings for fear of reprisals. On a more prosaic level, prosecutors have no access to offices, legal resources or clerical staff, and few funds are available from the government to revamp the ATC infrastructure.

The ATC system is also vulnerable to widespread human rights violations. As per the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance 2009, ‘extrajudicial confessions’ recorded by security personnel are admissible as evidence; the remand period is extended from 30 to 90 days; and the burden of proof has shifted to the accused. Human rights groups have pointed out that these changes will be seen as an invitation for investigators to torture suspects and falsify evidence.

Compounding these concerns is the fact that terror suspects are often moved between locations, and investigators and prosecutors have to collect evidence without having access to the area in which the suspect was first apprehended.

The efficacy of Pakistan’s ATC system in stemming terrorism is further compromised by the fact that the ATA does not apply to residents of Fata, the area from where many detainees hail. These suspects have to be repatriated to their tribal agency to face justice under the Frontier Crimes Regulation; in other words, they get no trial.

Ultimately, if the Pakistan government wants to establish its authority and demonstrate regard for the democratic principle of due process, it will have to take a page from India, revamp the ATC system and ensure fair and transparent trials for all terror suspects.

Source: Dawn 09 May, 2010


5 May 2010

Who is Dr. Usman and why is he constantly being released from custody?

The Pakistani people deserve an explanation as to who is Dr. Usman aka Muhammad Aqeel who has been acquitted by a Rawalpindi Anti Terrorism Court today due to “lack of evidence” in the Marriott Bombing case of 2008.

According to this report by Long War Journal, this Dr. Usman is the same Dr. Usman who led the attack on the GHQ in October 2009. At the time, Dr. Usman was the only terrorist caught alive after the rescue operation. After the operation, according to this report in The News, a committee was formed whose mandate was to investigate the GHQ attack. In November 2009, it presented its report to General Kayani. According to this report:

During the investigation, most of the information was provided by Aqeel Ahmed alias Dr Usman, the mastermind behind the attack, security sources told Online. The investigation team, comprising senior intelligence officials, was constituted by the Army chief, the sources said.

After Dr. Usman’s capture following the GHQ attack, the authorities announced that he was the mastermind of several terrorist attacks such as the attack on the Sri Lankan team, and an attack on President Musharraf. However it was never clarified that this was the same Dr. Usman who had been arrested following the Marriott bombing.

The Pakistani public deserves an explanation regarding this mysterious individual on several counts:

1. Is the Dr. Usman of the Marriott attack the same as the Dr. Usman of the GHQ attack?
2. If this is the case, then why has Dr. Usman been set free by the Rawalpindi ATC in the Marriott Bombing case and why is he not being tried for the GHQ case?
3. If this is the same Dr. Usman then why and when was he set free in the middle of the Marriott Bombing investigation?
4. Dr. Usman was allegedly being interrogated in the Special Intelligence Agency’s office in Model Town shortly before it was bombed. Is there any relation between his presence at the office and the attack on it?
5. What is the connection of Dr. Usman with the army medical store or medical corps as has been previously alleged?
6. Has the military privately made some kind of deal with Dr. Usman, securing his acquittal on the Marriott Bombing charges in exchange for information provided to the committee investigating the GHQ case?

See also this letter published in The News on October 14 2009 which asks the same questions, none of which have been answered to this date by the government:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
If one goes back a year or so and reads local papers, one will find that the alleged mastermind of the attack on GHQ, Aqeel alias Dr Usman, had in fact been arrested by the secretariat police in October last year, for suspected involvement in the attack on the Marriott hotel. Reports published in national newspapers on Oct 25, 2008, said that an anti-terrorist court (ATC) in Rawalpindi had been told that four people had been arrested by the police in connection with the attack on the hotel. The report said that investigation officer Altaf Khattak had informed ATC Number 2 that the Secretariat police had arrested Dr Usman, Rana Ilyas, Muhammad Hameed Afzal and Tehseenullah Khan.

This means that the police — otherwise much-maligned for not doing their job and generally having a very shoddy performance in such matters — were actually able to get hold of at least some people who were quite clearly terrorists. May I ask why Dr Usman, whose arrest in 2008 is part of the published record, was released? May I also ask that was, upon his release, any effort made by the authorities — civil and/or military — to keep him under surveillance? Quite clearly, had this been done, perhaps the GHQ attack could have been pre-empted.

Taimur Ahmad



22 April 2010

Malik Ishaq, a most dangerous terrorist of Sipah-e-Sahaba, about to be released by Shahbaz Sharif’s government

First the sorrow, now the fear

By Asad Kharal

Thirteen years ago, Fida Hussain Ghalvi and three other
witnesses boldly testified against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s top hitman Malik Ishaq for the killing of 12 members of their family. They didn’t know that their search for justice would lead them nowhere, the ordeal had just begun…

LAHORE: The mere thought of the murderer of twelve of his kin being acquitted is enough to send a ripple of fear up his spine. Fida Hussain Ghalvi’s thoughts revert to the time when 13 years ago, he and three other men had boldly testified against Malik Ishaq – the formidable founding member of the banned terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Malik Ishaq, the man who Ghalvi and other victims of his killing spree believed would never see the light of day, is all set for release from prison. Ishaq was arrested in 1997 for involvement in sectarian murders – almost all of his victims were members of the minority Shia community. Police charged Ishaq with murders of 70 people in 44 different cases but he escaped conviction in each case due to “lack of evidence” against him.

Ishaq’s associates in LJ unleashed a violent campaign when he stood trial for the deaths of 12 people at a gathering of the Ghalvi family in 1997.

“When Ishaq was arrested in 1997, he unleashed his broad network against his opponents, killing witnesses, threatening judges and intimidating police, leading nearly all of the prosecutions against him to collapse eventually,” Ghalvi told Daily Times while narrating a blow-by-blow account of LJ’s bloodthirsty hatred – and of Ishaq’s.

“Ishaq, along with seven others, attacked the Esaal-e-Sawaab Majlis-e-Aza of my aunt held at our native village Kot Chaudhry Sher Muhammad,” said Ghalvi. “Twelve people of my family – Sardar Ali, Abdul Rahim, Allah Ditta, Muhammad Yousaf, Islamuddin, Muhammad Nawaz, Syed Ali Shah, Syed Shoukat Ali Shah, Allah Baksh, Akbar Ali, Bashir Ahmed and Sher Muhammad – were killed.”

When Ishaq was arrested from Faisalabad in 1997 and sent to Central Jail Multan, Ghalvi and the other witnesses were summoned for his identification parade. The witnesses pointed at Ishaq at the very onset, but he was least perturbed. In the presence of the civil judge and the deputy superintendent of the jail, Ishaq threw down the gauntlet. “Dead men don’t talk,” Ghalvi quoted Ishaq as telling the witnesses. Ghalvi said that despite blatant threats by Ishaq and his lawyer, he and the other witnesses refused to back down.

Ghalvi said that during the trial, eight people – five eye witnesses and three of their relatives were killed, including Chaudhry Mukhtar Hussain Ghalvi, Mukhtar Fauji, Shoukat Ali, Ashiq Hussain, Fazal and his son Ali Raza. “During the trial, we appeared 110 times before the judges during a span of eight years,” he said.

In the face of this, Ishaq was acquitted in 2004 when a judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to convict him. The case has been in an appeals court since. A judge did hand down a guilty verdict in one case against Ishaq, but the Supreme Court overturned it.

Poor investigation and prosecution, and concrete evidences not making it to the file records also contributed to Ishaq getting a clean chit, says Ghalvi. Reason? “Fear, which Ishaq ingrained in his adversaries brought about his acquittal – it’s as obvious as daylight,” said Ghalvi, who has been diligently pursuing the cases against Ishaq since the last 13 years.

In an interesting disclosure, Ghalvi told Daily Times that a year and a half ago, the then Punjab IG Shaukat Javaid allowed a senior police official, former head of defunct militant organisation Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and now convener of Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaat Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi, and his deputy Khadim Dhillon to meet Ishaq in Central Jail Multan. Ghalvi said the meeting continued for about five hours. When the matter was put up in a meeting of Ittehad Bainul Muslimeen, Javaid steered clear of the controversy by claiming that the meeting was arranged with permission from senior government officials.

Talking to Daily Times, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah admitted that the main cause for acquittal of terrorists like Malik Ishaq was the annihilation of eyewitnesses. The other reason for the terrorists’ acquittal in a record number of cases was due to political recruitments of prosecutors during Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s government, Sanaullah claimed. The law minister had nothing to say on the danger Ghalvi and the other witnesses were facing in the wake of Ishaq’s release from prison. He also did not comment on the VVIP facilities Malik Ishaq is availing in jail, including cell phones.

Dangerous terrorists like Malik Ishaq are able to escape punishment because of lack of witnesses and evidence, Punjab DIG Crimes Muhammad Ayub Qureshi, who is the officer dealing directly in terrorism cases, told Daily Times.

Qureshi said in some cases the witnesses backed out due to fear or were forced to agree on a compromise with the accused. He said that the police was now focusing on strengthening the investigation and prosecution so that terrorists could not get freedom from courts on the basis of lack of evidence.

Malik Ishaq is currently being detained in prison for involvement in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, on the statement of one of the suspects, Zubair Maitla.\04\22\story_22-4-2010_pg1_6


22 April 2010:

Mukhtaran gangrape accused’s acquittal seen as setback to women’s rights in Pakistan

The acquittal of five of the six accused in the Mukhtaran Mai gangrape case by Pakistan’s Supreme Court is being seen as a setback to women’s rights in the country.

Mai was gang raped on the orders of a village council in 2002 as a punishment because her 12-year-old brother was judged to have offended the honour of a powerful clan by allegedly having an affair with one of its women, although villagers say that the boy was merely seen walking with the girl.

Mai became a national and international symbol of the then almost nonexistent women’s rights movement in Pakistan, when she spoke out against her attackers following her ordeal in 2002.

However, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted five of the six accused in the gang rape case yesterday as it upheld the verdict of the Lahore High Court (LHC) in a highly watched decision, which critics say will set back the struggle for women’s rights, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Thursday’s verdict not only has a “negative impact on civil society organizations that are trying to improve the condition of women,” but also highlights weak collection of evidence by the police that allows serious criminals as well as terrorists to walk free, said Mehdi Hasan, former chairman of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

During the last four years in serious crimes like terrorism, 98 per cent of accused have been acquitted,” said Hasan, citing HRCP research.

The apex court’s detailed judgment cites lack of DNA testing as a reason for acquitting the men.

“The entire case fell apart on lack of evidence. There was no corroboration of statements, various things were missing. The police in this country are not sensitized to deal with rape victims,” said lawyer and talk-show host Ayesha Tammy Haq, adding that police reform is crucial to bringing culprits to justice.

“In a country like Pakistan, where women don’t even dare to report rape because of the taboo attached to it, our judiciary sets rapists free,” tweeted Mehmal Sarfraz, a Lahore-based journalist.

Still, in the nine years since Mai took up the cause, her case has helped embolden women in Pakistan, the report said, adding that although rape is rarely reported in the country, at least 2,903 women came forward with rape complaints last year, depicting a significant increase from those recorded in 2005, according to the HRCP. (ANI)


21 April 2010

Mukhtaran Mai case: 5 of 6 accused acquitted

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Thursday upheld an earlier judgment of the Lahore High Court (LHC) and acquitted five out of the six accused in the Mukhtaran Mai rape case.
The apex court ordered the immediate release of the five accused, unless other cases were registered against them.
The sentence of one of the accused, Abdul Khaliq, has been upheld. Khaliq is serving a life sentence.
Mukhtaran Mai expressed her disappointed with court’s verdict, stating that she no longer trusted Pakistan’s judicial system.
In 2002, Mukhtar Mai, a woman from a remote district of Southern Punjab Muzaffargarh, was allegedly gang-raped by order of her tribal council as punishment for her younger brother’s alleged relationship with a woman from a powerful clan.
The Anti-Terrorism Court in Dera Ghazi Khan had heard the case and sentenced the perpetrators to death.
An appeal was later filed in the LHC, which stated that five of the six accused are innocent. Mukhtaran had then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
NGOs have protested the decision, saying the verdict proves that no woman is safe in Pakistan. Human rights activist Farzana Bari said the judicial process regarding rape is flawed.

25 March 2010

Karachi court acquits alleged Jundullah man

Posted by Jawad Hussain on 25 March, 2010

KARACHI: Additional District and Session Judge (ADJ), Obaid-ur-Rehman acquitted an alleged member of banned outfit Jundullah, Qasim Toori and five others in a murder case here Wednesday, the Daily Times reported.

This is the second time in recent months that Qasim Toori has been acquitted from a case. Last time around, he was released from a bank robbery case. Qasim, along with his partners, Shehzad Bajwa and Atta-ur-Rehman was allegedly involved in a murder.

According to police record, Toori was also allegedly accused of murders, attempt of murder including sectarian terrorism activities, for which he has been facing the cases as well.

He was arrested from Shah Latif police station limits after an encounter, and a few cases against him are under trial at the Anti Terrorism Court Karachi.

Karachi court acquits alleged Jundullah man
Additional District and Session Judge (ADJ), Obaid-ur-Rehman acquitted an alleged member of banned outfit Jundullah, Qasim Toori and five others in a murder case here Wednesday, the Daily Times reported.
Karachi, Pakistan


18 March 2010

Laskhar-e-Jhangvi terrorist Akram Lahori acquitted

Posted by Administrator
Thursday, 18 March 2010 06:05

Additional District and Sessions Judge (East) Obaid Ahmed Khan acquitted the former chief of banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) former Chief Akram Lahori in a murder case of Mumtaz Haider for want of evidence. Mohammed Amjad alias Akram Lahori was booked in the murder case of Syed Mumtaz Haider on July 20, 2001 by Brigade police station. He was arrested on July 4, 2002 and was lodged in jail then since. The informed sources said that the family of Shaheed Mumtaz Haider due to the threat of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist group was avoid to give the statement in the court and the session court acquitted the terrorist Akram Lahori, involved in the killing of hundreds of Shia Muslims in Pakistan was released in another case due to the lack of evidences.

2 March 2010

March 2, 2010: Judge Malik Akram Awan of the Rawalpindi ATC No. I acquitted seven accused who were arrested in connection with a suicide attack targeting a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) bus on the Faisalabad Road in Sargodha in Kamra, killing seven PAF officers and three civilians.


2 January 2010

January 2, 2010: Rafaqat Hussain and Hasnain Gul, accused of involvement in two suicide attacks in Rawalpindi, were set free by Rawalpindi ATC No. I due to lack of evidence. They were also accused of being part of the conspiracy to assassinate Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, in Rawalpindi.



14 Oct 2009

Jamaat Ud Dawa chief acquitted by Lahore High Court

The decision by the Lahore High Court to scrap all terror cases against the Jamaat-Ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed including November 26, 2008 Mumbai attack case, is shamelessly disappointing. His acquittal marks the failure of all diplomatic efforts meant to persuade Pakistan into punishing all those behind the gruesome attack. This is not the first time when Pakistan has brazenly refused to act against terrorists operating from its soil against India in the face of all the evidence. The decision unambiguously displays Pakistani strategy of selective action against the terrorists. While it can fight the Taliban in the NW and the Al Qaeda to remain in the good books of the west it refuses to take any action against India centric organizations, like the Jamaat. Pakistan needs to remember that there are no good or bad terrorists and that ultimately its their own security at stake in the end. India should review its strategy to ensure that Pakistan acts against those who masterminded or planned the Mumbai attacks last year.


12 October 2009

Rawalpindi attack mastermind previously arrested and released

October 12, 2009 2:01 PM
The terror commander who led the assault and siege on Pakistan’s Army General Headquarters last weekend was previously in police custody for involvement in the suicide attack on the Islamabad Marriott in September 2008.

The Taliban commander, who is known as Dr. Usman, led the 10-man assault team that a few days ago attacked the front checkpoint at Army General Headquarters, entered the compound, and took 42 hostages. In the 18-hour crisis that shut down Pakistan’s Army command, 14 Pakistani troops were killed, including a brigadier general, a lieutenant colonel, and six commandos from the Special Services Group, along with nine terrorists. Thirty-nine hostages were freed during the commando assault that ended the siege.

Dr. Usman is the only terrorist to have survived the assault. He escaped the initial commando assault and was wounded and then captured in another section of the building.

Dr. Usman was previously in the custody of Pakistani security forces for his suspected involvement in the suicide attack at the Islamabad Marriott in September 2008. Dr. Usman was detained along with Rana Ilyas, Muhammad Hameed Afzal, and Tehseenullah Khan, according to a report in Daily Times from October 2008. The four men were described as being “linked to an organized terrorist network operating in the NWFP and Punjab.”

It is not clear when Dr. Usman was released from custody. According to the Daily Times, on Aug. 9, 2009, the Anti-Terrorism Court completed a hearing on an acquittal plea filed by Dr. Usman relating to his involvement in the Marriott suicide attack. The court rejected the plea on Sept. 22, 2009.

Dr. Usman, who is also known as Mohammad Aqeel, served in the Pakistani Army Medical Corps until 2006, when he left the military and joined the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Daily Times reported. He later joined the Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islami, which is led by Qari Saifullah Akhar. Dr. Usman served under Ilyas Kashmiri, the former Special Services Group commando who served as the operations chief for HuJI (the US killed Kashmiri during an airstrike in North Waziristan in September).

Kashmiri formed the Amjad Farooqi Group from the HuJI cadre, and the group is largely manned with Punjabi jihadis, many with military experience. Amjad Farooqi, who was killed by Pakistani security forces in 2004, led two assassination attempts against then-President Pervez Musharraf. Dr. Usman is also thought to be involved in the planning of those operations.

The Amjad Farooqi Group is often referred to as the “Punjabi Taliban” and has close ties to the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, al Qaeda, and other jihadi groups in Pakistan.

Dr. Usman is said to have organized and led some of the most high-profile attacks carried out by the Amjad Farooqi Group. Along with the Islamabad Marriott suicide attack, Dr. Usman has been implicated in the ambush that targeted the Sri Lankan national cricket team in Lahore in March 2008 and the suicide attack that killed Lieutenant General Mushtaq Ahmed Baig, the Surgeon General of the Army Medical Corps, in February 2008. Dr. Usman worked with Mushtaq during his time in the Army. General Mushtaq is the senior-most Pakistani general killed by the Taliban.

The Amjad Farooqi Group and Dr. Usman are also thought to be involved in a suicide bombing in February 2007 at the Islamabad airport that targeted former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Read more:


11 August  2009

The Government told the National Assembly that it had asked provinces to keep a watch on the banned Sunni militant outfit SSP, which is accused of fomenting recent violence in the Punjab province’s Jhang and Gojra towns. Interior Minister Rehman Malik acknowledged there was a lot of truth in concern voiced by an opposition lawmaker from Jhang who said the Government must act against the SSP to avoid the kind of situation it had to face in Swat valley of the North West Frontier Province after Taliban militants were allowed to thrive there. Malik reportedly said it was a fact that the SSP had had been involved in terrorist activities in the past and added “The provincial governments have been asked to keep a watch on its activities.” The PML-Q member Sheikh Waqqas Akram said all of some 200 SSP activists arrested in Jhang after a judge took a Suo Motu notice of the July 21 violence were later released “one by one” and that he learned during a visit to Gojra that members of the same group attacked Christians in Gojra for unproven blasphemy, burning seven of them alive. He also that a SSP leader had been allowed to address the arrested group’s militants in jail and to go around the country without regard to what he called restrictions for banned organisations.


19 Feb 2009

Pakistan: Wanted terrorists Azhar, Ibrahim not in country

February 19, 2009

Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

A wanted terrorist leader recently under house arrest and a mafia don with close ties to South Asian terror networks are not in Pakistan, according to a senior Pakistani official.

Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, and South Asian crime boss Dawood Ibrahim are not in in the country, according to Rehman Malik, the Interior Advisor to Prime Minister Gilani. Malik made the comments at a meeting of the federal cabinet in Lahore, Geo News reported.

The claim that Azhar is not in Pakistan directly conflicts with claims made by Pakistani officials that he was under house arrest in Bahawalpur in early December 2008. Pakistani officials later claimed Azhar was not under house arrest and his location was unknown.

Rumors later cropped up that claimed Azhar was operating in South Waziristan. Rashid Rauf, an al Qaeda operative who is a member of Azhar’s family, is also thought to have fled to South Waziristan after his escape from custody. Rauf was reported to have been killed in a November 2008 US Predator strike in South Waziristan, but his associates claimed he is alive.

Ibrahim’s whereabouts are unknown, but he known to operate his criminal-terror empire in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi.

After the terror assault on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai in November 2008, India demanded Pakistan turn over senior leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, and Harkat ul-Jihad-I-Islami. Both Azhar and Ibrahim were on the list of more than 20 wanted terrorists.

Azhar is the founder of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, or Army of the Prophet Mohammed, a terror group group that conducts attacks in Indian-held Kashmir but also has close links to and conducts operations with Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda in Pakistan and India. In 1994, Azhar was detained by Indian security officials in Srinagar.

He was released along with Omar Saeed Sheikh from an Indian jail in exchange for hostages held in an Indian Airlines flight hijacking in December 1999. He established the Jaish-e-Mohammed the next year as an offshoot of the Harkat-ul-Ansar, one of many terror groups created to fight the Indians in India-occupied Kashmir.

Azhar has been in Pakistani detention at least two times in the past decade. He was briefly detained after the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, but was cleared of charges by a court in Lahore. Pakistani police detained Azhar after the 2003 assassination attempts against then-President Pervez Musharraf, but quietly freed him months later.

The Jaish-e-Mohammed was implicated along with the Lashkar-e-Taiba as being behind the Dec. 13, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament building in New Delhi. In October 2001, the US designated Jaish-e-Mohammed as a foreign terrorist organization. The group receives support from Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency.

Mafia and terror kingpin Dawood Ibrahim.

Dawood Ibrahim is perhaps Indian’s most wanted man. Ibrahim runs an extensive criminal network throughout South Asia. Al Qaeda and other Pakistani and Bangladeshi terror groups have allied with Ibrahim to leverage his network of weapons smuggling and other services. The US government branded Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2003.

Ibrahim has been implicated in the 1993 Mumbai bombings and is known to receive backing from the Inter-Service Intelligence agency. His network also played a role in facilitating the 2008 Mumbai terror assault.

Read more:



24 June 2008

June 24: The banned SSP has once again rolled up its sleeves and started getting active across Pakistan, and especially in Karachi, but with a new name Ahle Sunnat wa Aljamaat Pakistan (ASWJP) which roughly translates into The Sunni Party. It has started by requesting Sunni people to voluntarily shut down their businesses and offices on Youm-e-Shahdat (the day of martyrdom) of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (RA) on the 22nd of Jumadi-Uthani, June 27. The central information secretary of the SSP and ASWJP, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Nadeem said that they had started work in the name of the ASWJP because of the ban on the SSP. “The case against the ban is in court,” he added. The SSP was banned in 2002 by the government and most of its leaders were arrested. The leaders were released in 2003-04 and started limited work under ASWJP. It organized a rally in April 2008 in Karachi after surfacing after six years.


Pakistan court acquits bomb suspect
by UPI

KARACHI, Pakistan – A Pakistani high court acquitted a bomb suspect, who had been put on death row for
allegedly masterminding a series of suicide bombings on Shiite mosques.

Gul Hasan, an alleged member of the banned sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, had been sentenced to death in 2004 by an anti-terrorism court for the mosque bombings that year in the port city of Karachi in which 80 died, the BBC reported.

For the past decade, Pakistan has been wracked by deadly Shiite-Sunni violence. The BBC report said the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, suspected to have links with the al-Qaida, has figured in almost all the attacks on Shiite targets.

The high court in Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, ruled Monday the prosecution had failed to prove its case against Hasan. The government was expected to appeal the ruling to Supreme Court.
Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.



3 March 2005

March 3: An Anti-Terrorism Court in Karachi acquitted an activist of the proscribed Sunni group, SSP, identified as Mohammad Faisal alias Pehalwan, in a sectarian killing case. He was accused of killing Dr Sibtain Ali Dosa and two of his associates in the Kharadar area of Karachi on May 2, 2000.



27 July 2004

SSP activists acquitted in killing case.
Asia Africa Intelligence Wire | July 27, 2004

(From Pakistan Press International Information Services Limited)
Karachi, July 27 PPI: An Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) Karachi headed by Judge Arshad Noor Khan Tuesday acquitted ten activists of banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) in killing case. SSP activists Mansoor Ali Babar, Umer Hayat, Karimullah, Ahmed Zahoor, Hafiz Ahmed Bux, Syed Asif Ali, Muhammad Fazil, Khawaja Saleemuddin, Atiqur Rehman and Ishtiaq Ali were prosecuted on charge of killing three persons and injuring seven others by firing on February 4, 1995 in Gulberg area Karachi. The court in its judgment observed that the killing case has not been made out against the accused and they are acquitted.


April 2004

216 militants involved in 300 murder cases

By Abdul Sattar Khan

Out of 377 Islamic militants, whose movements have been restricted by 4th Schedule of Anti-Terrorist Act 1997, 216 are involved in murder of more than 300 members of their opposite sects.
Ironically, these 216 militants (170 Sunnis and 46 Shias), against whom 259 murder cases were registered, have been released either on bail or acquitted due to insufficient evidence. They belong to Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jahngvi (LJ), Tehrik-e-Jafferia Pakistan (TFJ) and Sipah-e-Mohammad Pakistan (SMP).

Their release or acquittal is attributed to the incompetence of law enforcement agencies and reluctance of the people to appear in court as witnesses.

Beside murder cases, there are 676 other cases of heinous crimes including sectarian violence and social crimes. There are 209 cases of life attempts, 51 of kidnapping, physically hurting and holding the opponents in custody and 31 of intimidation. Besides, 62 cases are registered for possessing illegal weapons and 26 for involvement in explosions or possessing explosive materials.

Prior to this, 89 cases under ATA were registered against them they also served imprisonments ranging from one to six months. To inflict maximum damage to their opponents, they not only physically hurt them, but also used derogatory remarks against the most reverent and sacred personalities of Islam just to hurt the feelings of each other. Thus 262 cases have been registered against them under Blasphemy Law.

There are 91 cases of dacoity, theft, forgery, receiving stolen properties, trespassing to commit dacoity, cheating and forgery of documents have been registered against them. As many as 27 cases are registered under section 427 of PPC, 14 cases u/s 452, six u/s 440, six u/s 411, five u/s 468, three u/s 471, two each u/s 419 and 420 and three u/s 379. Five cases are registered against them u/s 354 of PPC for tearing the clothes of a woman. About 563 cases have been registered for unlawful assembly, 228 u/s 148, 204 u/s 149 and 131 cases u/s 34 of PPC. There are 136 cases of abetment u/s 109 PPC and 149 cases for disobeying the lawful authority/orders of a public servant.

The district-wise details of murder cases are below:

Lahore District: Out of the total 59 cases registered against 18 activists – 36 against 14 Sunnis and 23 against four Shias -, there are 11 murder cases against six Sunny activists.

Sheikhupura District: Of the total 55 criminal cases against 12 sectarian activists – 52 against 11 Sunnis and three against one Shia – there are three murder cases registered against three Sunny activists.

Kasur District: Of the total four cases registered against one Sunny activists, there is only one murder case.

Gujranwala District: Of the total eight cases registered against seven Sunny activists, there are five murder cases against five Sunny militants.

Okara District: Two murder cases are registered against two Sunny activists.

Sialkot District: Out of nine cases registered against five militants – seven against three Sunnis and two against two Shias – there are three murder cases registered against three Sunnis.

Narowal District: Of 13 cases registered against seven activists – ten against five Sunnis and three against two Shias – there is not a single murder case in this district.

Hafizabad District: Of nine cases registered against two Sunny activists, there is no murder case.

Mandi Bahauddin District: Out of six cases registered against three militants – four against two Sunni activists and one against one Shia – there is only one murder case against a Sunni.

Rawalpindi District: Out of ten cases registered against nine militants – seven against six Sunnis and three against three Shias – there are nine murder cases registered in this district. Of them, six are registered against Sunnis and three against Shias.

Attock District: Of the total 56 cases registered against 56 activists – 37 against 37 Sunnis and 19 against 19 Shias – there are 56 murder cases registered in this district. This is the only district where each and every militant is involved in 56 murder cases.

Jhelum District: Two murder cases are registered against two Sunny activists.

Faisalabad District: Of 15 cases registered against ten Sunny activists, nine murder cases are registered against Sunnis.

Jhang District: There are 85 cases registered against 41 activists – 64 against 26 Sunnis and 23 against 15 Shias – which also include 32 murder cases, 22 against Sunnis and ten against Shias.

Toba Tek Singh: Only two murder cases are registered against two Sunny activists.

Sargodha District: There are eight cases registered against eight Sunny activists including five murder cases against five Sunnis.

Mianwali District: Of the total five cases registered against one Sunny activist, only one is a murder case.

Khushab District: Of the total 12 cases registered against four activists, ten are registered against three Sunnis and two against one Shia.

Bhakkar District: Out of the total 58 cases registered against nine activists – 52 against seven Sunnis and six against two Shias – there are six murder cases including four against Sunnis and two against Shias.

Multan District: Out 21 cases registered against 13 Sunny activists, there are ten murder cases registered against ten Sunny militants.

Sahiwal District: Of the five cases three are registered against three Sunny activists.

Vehari District: Of the total 15 cases registered against seven Sunny activists, there are two murder cases against two Sunny militants.

Khanewal District: Of the total 61 cases registered against 17 activists – 56 against 15 Sunnis and five against two Shias – there are 13 murder cases in which eight cases are registered against Sunnis and two against Shias.

Pakpattan District: There are total nine cases registered against five Sunny activists without any murder case.

Lodhran District: Of the total 17 cases registered against 14 activists – 13 against ten Sunnis and four against four Shias – there are ten murder cases in which six are against Sunnis and four against Shias.

Bahawalpur District: Of the total 65 cases registered against 33 Sunny militants, 30 cases of murder are registered against 15 Sunny militants.

Bahawalnagar District: Out of the total 38 cases registered against 18 activists – 34 against 16 Sunnis and four against two Shias – there are six murder cases in which five are against Sunnis and one against Shia.

Rahim Yar Khan District: Of the total 64 cases registered against 11 activists – 61 against ten Sunnis and three against one Shia – there are five murder cases in which four against Sunnis and one against Shia.

D G Khan District: Of the total 32 cases registered against nine activists – 22 against five Sunnis and ten against four Shias – there is only one murder case against a Shia.

Muzaffargarh District: Of the total 100 cases registered against 31 activists – 92 against 27 Sunnis and eight against four Shias, there are 14 murder cases in which 12 are against Sunnis and two against Shias.

Layyah District: Of the total 51 cases registered against 12 activists – 36 against nine Sunnis and 15 against three Shias, there are 18 murder cases in which 12 are against Sunnis and two against Shias.

Rajanpur District: There are total 19 cases registered against five activists – three against one Sunny and 12 against four Shias, there is not a single murder case registered against them.



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