Sunday September 26, 2021

ATC summons magistrate in person to verify confessional statement of Uzair Baloch

ATC summons magistrate in person to verify confessional statement of Uzair Baloch

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday summoned a judicial magistrate to record his testimony over a purported confessional statement of alleged gangster Uzair Baloch about the kidnapping and murder of two Rangers personnel.

The ATC-XVI judge wrote to the Member Inspection Team of the Sindh High Court to ensure presence in the trial court on August 10 of the judicial magistrate who had recorded Uzair’s statement under the section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The magistrate had pleaded the court to record his statement online through WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom but the request was turned down after the defence lawyers, Advocate Abid Zaman and Advocate Jiwani, objected to it.

Uzair’s attorney Zaman argued that the video-link request by the magistrate was not maintainable because he was present in the city. Co-accused Sher Muhammad Sheikh’s lawyer Jiwani questioned what prevented the magistrate from appearing in person. According to the prosecution, the magistrate in 2016 had recorded the confessional statement of Baloch in which he revealed the modus operandi of his extortion enterprise, levelling stark allegations against the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) leadership.

A part of the statement read two Rangers personnel Muneer Ahmed Bhutto and Aijaz Ahmed Baloch, who were on intelligence duty, were kidnapped in Lyari by Sheikh and later killed on the orders of Uzair in March 2013.

Both the accused pleaded innocence while Uzair claimed that he never made any confession regarding the matter and alleged that the statement attributed to him was a plethora of lies concocted to harm his reputation as well as of the PPP.

According to legal experts, the court would question the magistrate to ascertain if the said statement was true or bogus. Speaking to The News, a former ATC judge, Muhammad Khan Buriro, said that in this situation, the magistrate would just serve as a witness.

Uzair faces over six dozen cases pertaining to murder, kidnapping, extortion and terrorism. Since January 2021, he has been acquitted in 21 such cases. Meanwhile, he serves 12-years imprisonment handed down by a military court for spying for Iranian intelligence agencies.

The Rangers had announced the arrest of Baloch in a raid in the outskirts of Karachi in January 2016. Some unverified reports, however, said that he was arrested earlier from Dubai with the help of Interpol.