ATC to summon witnesses in Perween Rahman murder case

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An antiterrorism court will decide on May 10 which of the witnesses, including senior officers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, to be summoned and examined to record their evidence and testimonies in a case pertaining to murder of renowned rights activist Perween Rahman, it has emerged.

Five accused — Abdul Raheem Swati, his son Mohammad Imran Swati and three co-accused: Ayaz Shamzai aka Swati, Amjad Hussain Khan and Ahmed Khan aka Ahmed Ali aka Pappu Kashmiri — have been charged with murdering her.

Perween Rahman was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013.The matter recently came up before the ATC-VII, who is conducting the trial of five detained accused in the judicial complex inside the central prison.

Advocate Salahuddin Panhwar, the counsel representing complainant in the murder case, provided a list of witnesses of the prosecution requesting the court to call them to record their statements against the accused persons.

He informed that the witnesses, numbered around 15 to 20, include the heads and members of the three joint investigation teams, which were constituted from time to time to probe the high-profile murder.The heads and members of the probing teams include senior officers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the Inter-Services Intelligence, the Military Intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau, the Federal Investigation Agency, the Rangers and the police, he added.

Mr Panhwar stated that the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition seeking fresh investigation into the murder of his client Aquila Ismail’s sister, had asked for providing a list of the members and heads of the JITs and other witnesses to the trial court.

The apex court had further said that trial court may consider, which of the witnesses to be summoned and examined to record their evidence, the counsel added.

The judge fixed May 10 to decide summoning of the witnesses listed by the prosecution to record their statements in the case.

Perween Rahman had named “land grabbers and extortionists” for trying to illegal occupy the land of office of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) in an interview aired internationally two years before she was killed by the same group.

Filing a supplementary charge sheet in March, the head of a joint investigation team, DIG Babur Bakht Qureshi had revealed that the team had not only examined the already available record, but also probed the case with regard to suspected involvement of the water and land mafia in the killing of Ms Rahman.

The team had interrogated politicians, journalists and land developers among the people interrogated during the course of fresh investigation into the case, it had added.

The report stated that slain Perween Rahman in an interview aired internationally had mentioned having a dispute with the accused Rahim Swati, who wanted to set up a karate centre on the land of the office of the Orangi Pilot Project.

In the interview, she had called Rahim Swati “land grabber and extortionist” and stated that the latter wanted to illegally occupy the land of the OPP’s office, the report had added.

The probing team concluded that in the light of the evidence and statements of the witnesses it had emerged that Ms Rahman was murdered by Rahim Swati and his accomplices.