Monday December 11, 2023

SHC sets aside conviction of Haqqani Network’s alleged member in funding case

November 24, 2022

The Sindh High Court on Wednesday set aside the 10 years’ imprisonment handed down to an alleged suspect of the proscribed Haqqani network in a fundraising collection case as the prosecution failed to prove charges.

Faizur Rehman was sentenced to 10 years in jail for terror financing and fundraising for the proscribed organisation by an anti-terrorism court on July 27, 2021. According to the prosecution, the Counter Terrorism Department had booked the appellant on allegations that he belonged to the banned Haqqani network and the funds he collected for it were being used for terrorist activities throughout the country.

Police had arrested Rehman from the Baitul Mukaram mosque, alleging that he was collecting funds for the aforesaid purpose. They claimed seizing a receipt book with the printed names of the HQN and Islami Jamhoori Afghanistan.

The appellant’s counsel said the appellant was attending the police station in terms of fourth schedule of the anti-terrorism law and he was being falsely implicated in the case. He submitted that no proof was produced before the court that the appellant was a member of the Haqqani Network or any other banned organisation.

He claimed that the prosecution failed to produce evidence regarding any transaction in connection with the collection of funds and their transmission to the Haqqani Network, and that the alleged receipt of funds was not sent to a handwriting expert to ascertain whether it was issued by the appellant or not. He sought acquittal of the appellant as prosecution failed to prove its case.

The additional prosecutor general submitted that the prosecution proved its case against the appellant with trustworthy evidence and requested the court to dismiss the appeal.

A division bench, comprising Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha and Justice Zulfiqar Ali Sangi, after hearing the arguments of the counsel and perusal of the evidence, observed in its judgment that the prosecution did not produce any substantial proof about the appellant being a member of any banned organisation. The court said the investigation officer failed to collect any other persons from whom the appellant had collected the funds and the failure on part of the IO created doubt about the prosecution story as regard to the appellant having been a member of the banned organisation and collection of funds for the purpose.

It observed that the prosecution had also failed to trace any clue to prove that any amount was deposited by the appellant in any account leading to it being received by a banned organisation and its use in terrorist activities. The court observed that mere words are not sufficient to establish offence against the appellant unless concrete evidence is produced. It said all the evidence produced by the prosecution was completely unreliable and utterly deficient to prove the charge against the appellant beyond any reasonable doubt.