Nek Muhammad of the Taliban jailed for attack on Sri Lankan team at Lahore

Courtesy of Daily Mirror and Tribune

A Lahore High Court division bench on Monday dismissed the bail application of Zubair alias Nek Muhammad, who has been accused of attacking the Sri Lankan cricket team.He had been granted bail earlier by an anti-terrorism court. The court dismissed his bail on the request of the government which had challenged his bail before the Lahore High Court.

The bench, comprising Justice Anwarul Haq and Justice Abdul Sattar Asghar, remarked that the bail granted earlier by the trial court was not ‘justified’. The bench said  the trial court had granted bail under the law of consistency which was not applicable in this case.

At a previous hearing, a division bench comprising Justice Shahid Hameed Dar and Justice Anwarul Haq had declined to hear the government’s appeal and referred the case to the chief justice, requesting that it be assigned to another bench.A deputy prosecutor general said Nek Muhammad had a key role in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. He said Nek Muhammad was arrested based on CCTV footage. The law officer said the trial court had released Nek Muhammad on bail even though the government had produced evidences of his involvement in the attack. He asked the court to cancel the bail granted to the alleged terrorist who is in detention under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) since he was granted bail by the anti-terrorism court (ATC).

Nek Muhammad’s counsel said the prosecution had failed to produce independent witnesses against his client. He said all prosecution witnesses were police personnel. He said his client had not been identified in a line-up of the suspects. He said the police had arrested Nek Muhammad in another case and implicated him in Sri Lankan cricket team attack after he was forced to confess to the crime in police custody.

He said four other people accused in the case were also arrested based on the statement of his client two years later. He said all of them had been granted bail from the trial court. He said his client had been under detention for six months even though he had secured bail. He said a review board comprising three judges of the LHC had also turned down the government’s request to extend his detention. He said the government had then decided to extend his detention by issuing another MPO order. The counsel asked the court to dismiss the government’s appeal and uphold the order of the trial court.
After hearing both sides, the bench cancelled Nek Muhammad’s bail. The bench observed that Nek Muhammad could challenge the order in the Supreme Court or seek a fresh bail from the trial court.
Prosecution has claimed that Qari Wahab alias Umar Daraz, Zubair alias Nek Muhammad, Malik Ishaq, Mohsin and Muhammad Ashfaq had plotted to attack the bus carrying the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3, 2009 with AK-47 rifles, rockets and hand grenades at Liberty Square, Gulberg.
Six policemen escorting the team were killed and six Sri Lankan players, including captain Mahela Jayawaredene, his deputy Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chaminda Vaas, a driver and an assistant coach were injured in the attack.

33a--Mahela+wife Mahela and his wife after landing at Katunayakae after the ordeal —Courtesy of Island

32b--Thilan injuredThilan in ambulance at Lahore — Courtesy of AFP
Zubair was arrested in June 2009. Investigators allege that he is a member of a local unit of the Taliban. (Source: Tribune)

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