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July 15, 2007

Six Harkat activists indicted in ‘plot to kill Musharraf’ case

World

July 15, 2007

Karachi

An Anti Terrorism Court on Saturday arraigned six activists of banned Harkatul Mujahideen Al-Alami for conspiring to kill President General Pervaiz Musharraf in April 2002.

Mohammad Imran, Hanif, Ashraf Khan, Sharib Arsalan Farooqui, suspended Rangers Inspector Waseem Akhtar and Mohammad Jameel pleaded not guilty when the court read out charges against them and claimed trial.

The trial is being again conducted by ATC following judgment by Sindh High Court in November last year, setting aside previous conviction of Imran, Haneef and Ashraf Khan by ATC and remanding back the case for retrial, observing that the trial court had erred in appreciating prosecution case by not framing murder charges against appellants.

Earlier on October 18, 2003, the ATC had sentenced them to 10 years in prison after finding them guilty in the offence of conspiring to commit murder attempt on President Musharraf. Co-accused Waseem Akhtar and Sharib Arsalan Farooqui were acquitted as the trial court gave them benefit of doubt.

The trial court had earlier indicted the accused under Section 7 of Anti Terrorism Act and sections 324 and 120-B of Pakistan Penal Code. While disposing of the appeal of Harkat activists, SHC had observed that in perusal of confession of the appellants the conspiracy was to murder but the charge was framed for conspiring to commit murder attempt and the conviction was awarded to appellants on the said offence.

The court had directed that the case be initiated from the framing of charges under Section 7 of ATA with clause 3 of schedule of offence and under sections 120-B and 302 of PPC. According to the prosecution, the accused, who were against the government policies on Afghanistan and Kashmir, had planned to assassinate President General Pervez Musharraf by leaving an explosives-fitted vehicle at Sharea Faisal to blow up the convoy of President, which was to pass through there on April 24, 2002, however, they

failed to do so.

ATC Judge Ghulam Ali A Samtio, who is conducting trial inside the central jail, after indictment of the accused, directed Special Public Prosecutor Naimat Ali Randhawa to produce prosecution witnesses and connected evidence against the accused for proving its case. The next hearing of the case has been fixed for July 24. Abdul Waheed Katpar and Mushtaq Ahmed are representing the defendants. The special prosecutor said that the accused were now indicted under Section 120-B read with 302 of Pakistan Penal Code and sections 6, 7 of Anti Terrorism Act. On May 9 the trial court had granted prosecution application and ordered for retrial of co-defendants Sharib and Waseem Akhtar, who were acquitted in the previous trial, with the main defendants.

Harkat activists Imran, Hanif, Hafiz Zubair and Sharib Arsalan Farooqui were also convicted for masterminding the car bombing near the US Consulate in June 2002 by the ATC, however, the SHC turned down the judgment and exonerated them of the charge. Supreme Court also upheld the SHC order.

One co-accused, Naveedul Hasan, was tried by the ATC in US Consulate blast and conspiracy to kill President Musharaf cases but the trial court exonerated him in both the cases as the prosecution failed to prove charges against him.