ATC judge raises concern over security after dagger lands in courtroom

February 16, 2020

An anti-terrorism court on Saturday wrote a letter to the Sindh home department, raising concerns over the security measures at the judicial complex built inside the Karachi central prison after a...

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An anti-terrorism court on Saturday wrote a letter to the Sindh home department, raising concerns over the security measures at the judicial complex built inside the Karachi central prison after a dagger was found in the courtroom.

The ATC-XII judge declared the discovery of the weapon as alarming and asked the authorities to deploy the Rangers and Rapid Response Force at the complex. The judge also recommended that metal detectors and walkthrough gates should be installed at the entrance.

The judge pointed out that some of the CCTV cameras installed in the complex were not functioning and they needed to be replaced or repaired, adding that litigants and visitors should be checked thoroughly before letting them enter the complex.

In June 2017, two under-trial prisoners belonging to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Shaikh Mumtaz alias Firoun and Muhammad Ahmed Khan alias Munna, had escaped from the same complex in a dramatic fashion, putting in question the security of the entire prison. In October 2019, the ATC-XIX had sentenced 14 Central Jail officials and personnel to two years imprisonment after finding them guilty of negligence which led to the escape of two under-trial prisoners.

Acquittal plea rejected

The ATC-XII rejected an application moved by an activist of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, seeking acquittal. Sher Khan, through his counsel, contended that the FIR against him was lodged illegal since police failed to fulfil the required formalities under the law.

The application read that sections 124-A (sedition) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Pakistan Penal Code were wrongly applied on him because putting them into a case required prior permission from the federal or provincial government.

On the other hand, the assistant prosecutor general had opposed the plea, contending that according to a judgment of the Supreme Court regarding the Anti-Terrorism Act no such permission was required by a court to take cognisance of a case under these sections.

The judge remarked that the court did not agree that police had to obtain permission to book or prosecute the accused. He dismissed the application by the accused, observing that the law relied upon in the plea were distinguishable than the case.

Police had booked over 300 people in January last year for assembling and allegedly chanting slogans against the state. The case was registered under sections 147, 148, 149, 341, 124-A, 153-A, 504, 505 of the PPC read with section 7 of the ATA at the Sohrab Goth police station.



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