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ATC turns down bail pleas of 11 cops held over jailbreak

By our correspondents
September 21, 2017

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday rejected the bail pleas of 11 cops accused of facilitating two dangerous Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) terrorists in escaping from prison in June. 

The bail applications were filed on behalf of the central prison’s suspended assistant superintendent, Ayaz Salik, and other cops, namely Rafique Channa, Atta Muhammad, Saeed Ahmed, Abdul Ghafoor, Muhammad Sajjad, Nadir Hussain, Muhammad Shakeel, Nawab Ali, Firosh Muhammad and Naveed Ahmed.

After examining the applications and hearing the arguments of the state attorney and the defence lawyers, the court deemed it fit to turn down the bail pleas.  However, the court accepted the bail plea filed by a suspected facilitator, Shafeeq Khan, in in view of his ill health.

The court also issued non-bailable arrest warrants for six absconding accused, namely Basheeran Bibi, Shaikh Muhammad Mumtaz, Shaikh Muhammad Aslam, Muhammad Ahmed Khan, Atharuddin and Muhammad Zubair. The court directed the investigation officer (IO) to arrest them and ensure their presence at the next hearing on October 5.

As many as fifteen officials of the central prison are being tried in this case. The then superintendent of the central prison, Ghulam Murtaza Shaikh, is also among the accused who had allegedly assisted LeJ terrorists Shaikh Muhammad Mumtaz aka Firoun and Ahmed Khan alias Munna in escaping from the prison on June 13.

Ghulam Murtaza Shaikh, deputy superintendent Faheem Anwar Memon and assistant superintendent Abdur Rehman Shaikh are already on bail.

The case firstly was submitted to a regular (subordinate) court that ordered keeping the 12 accused at the central prison on judicial remand. However, later the case was taken up by the CTD police that inserted the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act and recommended their trial before an ATC.

Earlier on September 14, CTD officials said the two suspected terrorists had escaped to Afghanistan after breaking out of the Karachi prison in June.

In a report submitted to the Sindh Home Department, the CTD said the suspects had fled to Afghanistan through the Chaman border in Balochistan. The two under-trial prisoners, Sheikh Muhammad and Ahmed Khan, were lodged in the jail’s judicial complex for trial when they escaped. According to the CTD sources, the terrorists changed their appearance in the judge’s washroom before the jail break. The CTD said they pursued the terrorists but could not track them.