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January 19, 2020

Four given life terms for abducting man for ransom

Karachi

January 19, 2020

An anti-terrorism court on Saturday awarded life imprisonment to four men after convicting them of kidnapping a man for ransom two years ago.

ATC judge Rashid Mustafa Solangi found Mukhtiar Ahmed, Naeem alias Ali, Roohullah and Ali Akbar alias Haji guilty of kidnapping 25-year-old Raheel Alam and taking over Rs10 million in ransom for his release.

Raheel was abducted on February 6, 2018 from near his residence in Decent Arcade in Gulistan-e-Jauhar. Around two weeks later, his family received a call from Afghanistan to pay Rs100 million in ransom for his release. After negotiations, the family paid Rs10,150,000 and the boy finally returned home after three months and 25 days.

According to the prosecution, a person identifying himself as Haji Qandhari made a phone call to the family and asked them to reach Quetta with the ransom money and contact Roohullah. The family refused to come to Quetta and then the amount was paid to Mukhtiar, who transacted the money through Hawala. On the same day, the kidnappers released Raheel near Karachi University.

On August 29, 2018, police and Citizens-Police Liasion Committee made a raid near Hasan Square and arrested Mukhtiar. On September 12, Naeem was arrested from the Northern Bypass and on the same day Roohullah was also taken into custody from Yousuf Goth. Ali Akbar was arrested later.

The judge in his order observed that generally and in this case particularly the abductee and their families were left on the mercy of the kidnappers, while the life of the abductee remained under imminent danger, not to talk of their honour, dignity and property until an exorbitant ransom amount was arranged by the aggrieved family and paid by them to the kidnappers.

He added that the protection and security of the lives of citizens, as well as of their properties, honour and dignity, was the responsibility of the state under the constitution, and not the responsibility of the families only.

The court directed the Sindh home secretary and the inspector general of police to devise a mechanism for advance arrangements of a pooled fund to provide the ransom amount if the only way for the safe release of any abductee was the payment of the ransom amount. This, the court said, would ensure that firstly the safety of the life of an abductee under imminent danger was immediately ensured, secondly the trust of public in “our departments will grow manifold which is indispensable for fighting war against the menace of terrorism, that cannot be won without public support and participation, and thirdly the ransom amount if paid (arranged by government) will help detect the accused, without endangering the life of an abductee”.

The four convicts were also given three years’ jail term and a fine of Rs50,000 each for wrongful confinement, life imprisonment for causing terrorism, and six years’ for terrorism-funding, and were directed to pay a compensation of Rs200,000 to the victim. In case of failure to pay the fine, the convicts will undergo six months’ additional imprisonment.

The case against the absconding suspects, Muhammad Khair, Zubair Ahmed, Maqbool Ahmed, Haji Ahmedullah, Shabbir Jan, Hafiz Abdul Kareem and Saifuddin, was kept on dormant until their arrest. The court issued perpetual warrants of arrest against them while pronouncing the verdict. The case was registered under sections 365-A and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with sections 11H, 11N and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 at the Gulistan-e-Johar police station.