Friday April 12, 2024

DHA kidnappings key accused seeks B-class jail facilities

By Yousuf Katpar
November 14, 2023
A police official can be seen holding a gun. — AFP/File
A police official can be seen holding a gun. — AFP/File

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) has sought a report on an application filed by the prime accused in the cases pertaining to the ransom kidnappings of two young women in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) neighbourhood in 2019. Zohaib Qureshi seeks B-class or better facilities in jail.

Qureshi, Muzaffar Ali (alias Mozi), Muhammad Tariq, Waseem Raja, Agha Mansoor Hussain and Fayaz Solangi have been charged with kidnapping for ransom Dua Mangi and Bisma. Qureshi had escaped from a shopping mall on Tariq Road following his court appearance on January 27 last year. Later, in June, the accused was arrested again in an injured condition.

As the cases came up before the ATC-VI judge, who is conducting the trial at the judicial complex inside the central prison, Qureshi, Ali, Tariq, Raja and Hussain were produced by the jail authorities, while Solangi, who is out on bail, also appeared before the court.

The investigating officer, Inspector Muhammad Ayub Pathan, was absent. No prosecution witness was in attendance either. Meanwhile, Qureshi moved an application seeking B-class facilities in prison. Taking the application on record, the judge directed the jail superintendent to submit his report on the matter.

The judge also ordered the central prison’s medical officer to provide physiotherapy to the accused. He summoned the IO to appear on the next date of hearing set for November 23, when the court would record evidence and take up a bail application of Qureshi.

According to the prosecution, the six men had allegedly abducted Dua in November 2019 in DHA and shot her friend Haris Soomro when he resisted the kidnapping bid. The accused set the woman free after receiving ransom from her family.

Police claimed that the same accused had also disclosed their involvement in the kidnapping of 20-year-old blogger and make-up artist Bisma in DHA in May 2019. The IO stated in the charge sheets that both victims had been kept in a flat in Clifton. He also incorporated sections 201 and 202 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) in the charge sheets, as the car used in the crimes was recovered from Solangi, and they had used a fake registration number plate.

The charge sheet also mentioned that the forensic science laboratory report of the weapons recovered from Qureshi and Ali had matched with a bullet casing found at the crime scene, while other medical, ocular and documentary evidence also supported the prosecution’s case against the accused.

Both cases were lodged at the Darakhshan police station under sections 324 (attempted murder), 365-A (kidnapping or abducting for extorting property, valuable security, etc.) and 34 (common intention) of the PPC, read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.