PESHAWAR: The anti-terrorism court absolved a suspected terrorist commander who had been charged with launching an attack on a shrine on the suburbs of Peshawar over a decade earlier, leaving 15 people dead.
Following the end of the trial, the court found that the prosecutor could not prove the case against the accused, Gulbat Malakdinkhel, while the facts on record did not bind him to the commission of the crime.
It issued a perpetual warrant for the arrest of the absconding accused in the case, including the patriarch of the outlawed Lashkar-i-Islam, Mangal Bagh and his friend, Tayyab Afridi.
A number of militants assaulted a shrine in Village Sheikhan on 3 March 2008 with heavy weapons, including rocket launchers, hand grenades and semi-machine guns.
Issues perpetual warrants for arrest of absconders
They had destroyed the sanctuary and killed about 15 people and wounded 10 others.
FIR was reported at the Badabher Police Station according to sections 302, 324, 427 and 436 of the Pakistan Criminal Code, Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and sections 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substances Act.
Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, a lawyer for the victim, said that the police had detained his client in Jan this year, claiming that he was second-in-command to Mangal Bagh.
He said the investigating team entered the attack site a day later, while it was located inside Peshawar.
The lawyer said the prosecution had provided nothing to show that his client was the same Gulbat Malikdinkhel, who was charged in the FIR.
He said the police did not mention Gulbat’s parents in the FIR and the probe.
The lawyer said that Gulbat was a common name in the Bara region of the Khyber tribal district, and that it could not be said that he was the same Gulbat without trace of the accused’s parentage.
He also said that the defendant in the case, Irshad, whose brother was killed in the attack, and the wounded individual, who appeared as a witness to the court, had claimed that they did not know his client, nor did they see him at the scene of the attack.
The counsel said that while heavy weapons were used in the attack, the investigating team did not notice any emptiness in the shrine.
He said that the case was not well prosecuted and that an individual should not be tried purely on the basis of the charges.
The state prosecutor said the perpetrator had been convicted in the FIR and had been missing for over a decade.