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Thursday February 29, 2024

Family of accused challenges transfer of trial to military court

By our correspondents
January 14, 2016

Safoora bus massacre

Karachi

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday directed the federal and provincial law officers to file comments on a petition challenging the federal government’s decision to shift the case’s trial from the anti-terrorism court (ATC) to the military court.

The family of Naeem Sajid, a businessman said to have facilitated the perpetrators of the Safoora bus massacre, submitted in the petition that police and law enforcement agencies had had him in their illegal detention for more than three months and was later falsely implicated in the case.

Their counsel Khawaja Shamsul Islam submitted that the decision regarding shifting of trial from the ATC to the military court was nothing but a reflection of a ‘pick and choose policy’ adopted by the federal and provincial governments. He submitted that elements of discretion were also apparent as number of FIRs lodged against workers and office bearers of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) as well as the case against former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain had not been handed over to the military courts.

The court was requested to declare the transfer of the petitioner’s trial null and void, arguing that the case did not fall under the new sub-section (4) of section 2 of the Pakistan Army Act as it was inconsistent with a mandatory provision of the Protection of Pakistan Act.  As many as 45 people including 18 women belonging to the Ismaili community were killed in a brutal attack on a community-bus near Safoora Goth on May13, last year.