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December 23, 2015

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Dr Asim sent to jail on 30-day judicial remand

NAB to interrogate Dr Asim for another day; Anis Qaimkhani, Waseem Akhtar, Usman Moazam, Qadir Patel and Salim Shehzad declared absconders; ATC issues non-bailable arrest warrants for 25 MQM leaders for facilitating provocative speech

KARACHI: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Tuesday passed orders to send Dr Asim Hussain to the central prison on judicial custody till December 30 in the case of the provision of medical facilities to those accused of terrorism, while in another case non-bailable arrest warrants were issued for 25 senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders, including Altaf Hussain.

In the Dr Asim case, however, the court allowed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to continue its interrogation for another day as Dr Asim was on physical remand by the NAB investigators.

Former federal minister and a central leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Dr Asim Hussain, who had been a close aide to former president Asif Ali Zardari, was produced before the ATC (II) headed by Khalida Yaseen. A day earlier, Administrative Judge of the ATC Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto had directed the police to produce Dr Asim Hussain before the ATC (II) for trial. The justice had rejected the police report seeking the release of Dr Asim, the chairman of the Sindh Higher Education Commission, and had ordered to try him in the ATC-II headed by Khalida Yaseen.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) had also rejected to the stance of the police that no proof was found that could involve Dr Asim Hussain in a case of harbouring terrorists by providing them medical treatment at his hospital.

The justice while rejecting the stance of Investigation Officer (IO) DSP Altaf Hussain that Dr Asim appeared to be innocent and his case should be declared as ‘A-class’, observed that “prima facie, there is sufficient incriminating evidence and material against Dr Asim Hussain and other accused persons to connect” them to the commission of the alleged crime.

On Tuesday, as Dr Asim Hussain appeared in the court (ATC-II), his attorney Amir Raza prayed to the court not to allow physical remand as his client was under detention on physical remand for around 120 days. Dr Asim himself drew the attention of the court to his long period of detention on remand.

Upon this plea the court said that now Dr Asim was being taken in judicial custody and he should be kept at the central prison. Another IO representing NAB, DSP Zameer Abbasi, was also present in the court. The court permitted him to keep up the interrogation within the due time period.

Dr Asim Hussain was taken into custody by the NAB officials on December 11 and later was produced before an accountability court that granted physical remand (two times) to NAB. Now after the expiration of this remand, Dr Asim Hussain would be produced before the accountability court concerned. It is learnt that the NAB has questioned Dr Asim Hussain about the issuance of licences to dozens of CNG stations without fulfilment of due legal requirements and misappropriation of funds that led to corrupt practices. He is also being held responsible for alleged illegal affiliation of colleges with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Terrorism Court-I (ATC-I) on Tuesday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for 25 senior MQM leaders in a case registered against them for facilitating a speech delivered by the party chief Altaf Hussain on July 12 in which he had criticised the security establishment.

As many as nine FIRs registered by different police stations of the city were made into one case.The court was told that FIRs were registered with nine police stations by different private complainants naming several MQM leaders.

These leaders attended a public gathering on July 12 this year and listened to Altaf Hussain who spoke against the national security agencies.Altaf is alleged to have spoken against the paramilitary forces blaming them for torturing and killing his party workers.

The FIRs registered by Malir Cantonment, Sukhan, Bin Qasim Town, New Town and Steel Town police stations were complied as a case and a charge sheet in which the MQM leaders were charged under Section 12 (collection of evidence in the absence of accused) of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was presented before the ATC (I) headed by Bashir Ahmed Khoso.

Former home minister Rauf Siddiqui is also one of the accused. He has obtained pre-arrest bail in the case.In this case, MQM chief Altaf Hussain has been accused of hatching a criminal conspiracy and abetting the waging of a war against Pakistan and committing acts of terrorism.

Accepting the charge sheet, the court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for 25 MQM leaders, including MQM chief Altaf Hussain, Waseem Akhtar (who has been nominated by the party as candidate of Karachi Mayor), Dr Farooq Sattar, Khawaja Izharul Hassan, Qamar Mansoor, Rehan Hashmi, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Rasheed Godil, Kaiful Wara and others.

The court was informed that many of the accused were absconding. Fixing January 2 as the next date of hearing, the court directed the investigation officer to arrest and produce all the absconding accused before it.

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