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June 20, 2021

Court summons witnesses against Amir Khan in Nine Zero raid case

 
June 20, 2021

An anti-terrorism court has directed police to bring witnesses against Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Amir Khan in a case pertaining to sheltering target killers at his former party’s headquarters.

The case was lodged by the Sindh Rangers against Khan after their pre-dawn raid on the MQM headquarters, which is also dubbed as Nine Zero, in Azizabad on March 11, 2015, on charges of instigating terrorism and harbouring criminals.

The ATC-VII issued directions to the investigation officer to ensure the presence of witnesses in the court on the next hearing on July 10. The case had been lingering on because of the absence of witnesses as well as of the accused, a court staffer said.

Khan serves as the deputy convener of the MQM-P –- an MQM offshoot which created after the state launched a crackdown against the party following its founder Altaf Hussain’s incendiary speech of August 22, 2016.

The MQM-P is now a coalition partner in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal government.

According to the prosecution, Khan was apprehended in the Nine Zero raid being its head of security. It added that 26 high-profile convicted and absconding suspects were also taken into custody along with him.

The other suspects were separately charged in cases for possessing illegal weapons and were recently convicted by an ATC and sentenced to six to 10 years in prison. Meanwhile, previous cases against them are still under trial.

In this case, Khan was accused of providing shelter to these suspects at Nine Zero knowingly, and police also claimed that he himself confessed to doing so while being interrogated after his arrest.

The charge sheet added that the statements of these 26 men were also made part of the case and would be recorded again before the court during the trial. However, they have not been presented in the court as yet.

The FIR was registered under sections 21-J (harbouring) and 11-V (directing terrorist activities) of the Anti-Terrorism Act on the complaint of an official of the paramilitary force at the Azizabad police station. The charges are punishable by seven years in prison in case of conviction.