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Ranger's murder case: Maulana Aziz, 20 others acquitted

11 September, 2012

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RAWALPINDI: Special judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman of the Anti Terrorist Court (ATC) No-1, Rawalpindi, Monday acquitted 21 persons, including Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, in the murder case of a Rangers' official during the siege of the mosque compound in July 2007.

The reason cited for the acquittal is lack of evidence presented by police. The court also issued arrest warrants for four of the accused in the case. One of them is Khalid Khawaja, a former ISI officer, has been killed by militants.

The court acquitted Maulana Abdul Aziz, his wife Umm-e-Hassan, daughter Tayaba Dua, Humera Rashid (the widow of late Abdur Rashid Ghazi), Maulana Abdul Qayyum, Safiullah Khan, Fidaullah Khan, Nazakat Ali, Abdul Qayyum, Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, Muhammad Sajid, Muhammad Asif, Abdul Sattar, Anayat-ur-Rehman, Muhammad Hayat, Abdul Latif, Noor Muhammad, Muhammad Afzal, Maqsood Akbar, Riaz Ahmed and Ansar Shah.

Some students and teachers of Jamia Faridia, accused of being involved in the murder of Ranger Lance Naik Mubarak Hussain who was deputed outside the mosque during the 2007 siege, were also acquitted.

Eighteen government witnesses appeared before the court including four DSPs and two magistrates. The cleric was granted bail in 2008, and the other accused were granted bail even earlier, in 2007. A case against the accused was registered on July 3, 2007.

On July 3, 2007 former president Pervez Musharraf had ordered a military operation against the Lal Mosque for challenging the writ of the state. The military besieged the mosque for 12 days before assaulting the compound, an attack in which many students were allegedly killed.

Maulana Abdul Aziz was accused of using the mosque loudspeaker to instigate madrassa students to attack Rangers who were deployed outside the mosque in order to prevent Maulana Abdul Aziz and his students at Lal Masjid from continuing the campaign of public intimidation that they had been carrying out since January of that year. The charges against Maulana Abdul Aziz also include kidnapping and abduction of Chinese massage therapists as well as hijacking a children's library in June 2007 as part of his institution's protest against the demolition of seven mosques in the federal capital.

It is worthwhile to mention that Abdul Rashid Ghazi, a brother of Maulana Abdul Aziz was killed during the operation as he had refused to surrender.

Qari Wajiullah Khan, the lawyer of Maulana Abdul Aziz, told that police failed to provide any evidence against his clients and therefore the court acquitted them in the Rangers' murder case. He said that in all there were 27 cases registered against Maulana Abdul Aziz. Out of these the Maulana was acquitted in twenty cases, including the most critical Rangers' murder case. Now only seven cases were pending against him.

Talking to media persons outside the court, Lal Masjid Chief Maulana Abdul Aziz said, "Today, Allah Almighty has awarded us with another success and the court verdict has proved that Pervez Musharraf's allegations were wrong and baseless."

Malik Ishaq granted bail

Additional District and Sessions Judge Nisar Ahmed on Monday granted bail to the chief of banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Malik Ishaq, an accused of campaigning jingoism through his sectarian hate mongering.

The court granted bail to the accused on the submission of surety bonds of Rs. 500,000, with directions to the accused to submit surety bonds in the trial court.

Sources informed that Malik Ishaq would not be released even after securing the bail as he was also nominated in other cases.

Earlier, on July 14, 2011, the apex court had granted bail to Ishaq in Sri Lankan cricket team attack case. He is said to be the mastermind of the attack.

End.

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