KARACHI: An antiterrorism court dismissed on Wednesday an application seeking to treat a video of Rangers officers’ press conference as electronic evidence in a case pertaining to alleged recovery of illicit arms and explosives from Nine Zero, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement headquarters in Azizabad.
The ATC-XVII judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the Central Jail Karachi, pronounced his verdict after hearing arguments from the defence and prosecution.
The court also summoned prosecution witnesses to record their testimonies on July 12.
The paramilitary force had arrested MQM senior leader Amir Khan and 26 armed suspects, including Faisal Mehmood, alias Mota, who was sentenced to death in absentia in journalist Wali Babar murder case, during a pre-dawn raid on March 11, 2015.
The suspects, including Faisal Mota and others, moved an application through defence counsel Mohammad Jiwani and Mushtaq Ahmed, who had argued that the Rangers’ officers had held a press conference in the Khursheed Begum Hall, wherein they claimed the alleged recovery of explosives and illegal weapons.
They said that the press conference was televised by private television channels and requested that the recording of the same was treated as electronic evidence and also played in the open court in the presence of two prosecution witnesses, both Rangers’ officials, as the same was admissible evidence and permissible under Articles 131, 140 and 164 of the Qanun-i-Shahadat read with Section 27-B of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
They argued that the suspects were arrested from their homes and that no weapons or explosives, as claimed by the Rangers, were recovered from their possession, therefore, around a dozen cases registered against them under Section 23-1(a) of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013, were false.
The paramilitary force brought the weapons and explosives with them, they concluded.
On the other hand, Rangers’ prosecutor Sajid Mehboob Sheikh argued that the CD in question could not be treated as evidence and displayed in the open court at the present stage of the trial, adding that the defence counsel should have sought such permission earlier.
The prosecutor further argued that the video could have been edited, thus the same could not be treated as evidence of the defence.
Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2018