At the request of Sindh’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), the Interior Ministry has approved the trial of two notorious Deobandi terrorists of banned takfiri terror outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in military courts. Mohammad Ishaq alias Bobi and Mohammad Asim alias Ahmed alias Kapri were arrested by the CTD last year for assassinating famous Sunni qawwal Amjad Sabri.
Talking to The News on Wednesday, CTD DIG Amir Farooqi said CTD officials had busted the network of terrorists, including those belonging to the LeJ.
The two were involved in a number of acts of terrorism, including target killings and attacks on military officials in Karachi, he said, adding that the department had planned to try the accused in military courts as their cases were high-profile.
He said that initially, CTD had submitted a report to the ministry and requested it through a letter to approve their trials by military courts. The letter said the Sindh apex committee, in its 20th meeting, had approved 10 cases for trial in military courts.
He said the FIRs against the accused in the 10 cases were registered at Ittehad Town, Preedy, CTD Sindh and Shareefabad police stations, and six other FIRs were lodged at the CTD Sindh Police Station.
The charges levelled under the Sindh Arms Act and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Court pertain to murders, attempts to murder and police encounters. The cases are with regard to the killing of four Rangers personnel in Ittehad Town, two military officials on Preedy Street and the murders of famous Qawwal Amjad Sabri and other citizens.
DIG Farooqi said that after receiving the letter, the ministry called CTD officials to Islamabad for a meeting and three to four meetings took place in this regard.
Finally, on November 1, the ministry approved trials at military courts.
The military courts were set up after an amendment was made to the Constitution. The amendment states that an extraordinary situation and circumstances exist which demand special measures for speedy trial for certain offences related to terrorism, waging of war or insurrection against Pakistan and the prevention of acts threatening the security of Pakistan by terrorist groups using the name of religion or sect and also by members of armed groups, wings and militias.
Officials said that after the constitutional amendment and establishment of the military courts, the law enforcers’ headquarters received directives to scrutinise terrorism cases. In Sindh, they said, initially the number of terrorism cases was 64 and they thought trails should take place at the military courts.
However, later, another amendment was made and the Sindh Police heads were directed to further scrutinise the list and check the nominated accused or terrorists who worked on a religious basis or out of sectarian hatred. The cases include the Nishtar Park bomb attack of 2007 and Safoora Goth bus attack in which 44 members of the Ismaili community were killed in May 2015.
Military courts have announced their judgments in the Safoora bus attack case and the convicts have filed review petitions in the apex court.
Earlier, the other cases considered for trial at the military courts pertained to the attack on the then Sindh High Court Justice Maqbool Baqar in 2013 in the Arambagh police remit and banned outfits, including LeJ and Jundullah.