KARACHI: Expressing its extreme displeasure over absence of suspects from the hearing of cases pertaining to the May 12, 2007 mayhem, an antiterrorism court on Friday directed the authorities concerned to ensure their appearance on the next date.
The suspects — including Umair Siddiqui, Raees, alias Mama and Mirza Naseeb Baig, alias Rizwan Chapati — have been booked in the eight cases recently reopened for trial on a directive of the Sindh High Court.
On Friday, the case was fixed before the ATC-II judge, but the suspects did not turn up for a second time. On the last date of hearing, the judge had found them absent and directed to show up on the next hearing.
Finding them not present on Friday, the judge expressed his extreme displeasure over their absence and ordered all of them to make it on the next date, and fixed the matter for Jan 14.
Around 65 cases, which the police had declared ‘A-class’ (unknown or untraceable accused), have been reopened for trial on the directives of the Sindh High Court.
Of the eight present cases, six were registered at the Airport police station and one each at the Bahadurabad and Ferozabad police stations.
It may be mentioned here that Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Umair Siddiqui and around 19 other suspects have already been indicted in four of the seven cases already pending a trial before the ATC-I and ATC-II.
The then provincial adviser on home, Wasim Akhtar, Umair Siddiqui, Mohammad Nasir and Nasir Zia were booked in identical cases registered under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 324 (attempted murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 registered at the airport police station in 2007.
Around 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in attacks on rallies organised by political parties and the legal fraternity that had tried to welcome deposed chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on his arrival at the Karachi airport to attend a gathering of lawyers.
Justice Chaudhry was forced to fly back to Islamabad after having been restricted to the airport for nine hours.
Wasim Akhtar was adviser to the Sindh chief minister on home at the time.