Rawalpindi - An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Friday extended the physical remand of seven accused including Top City owner Kunwar Moeez for five days in an explosives and weapons recovery case.

ATC No 1 Special Judge Muhammad Asghar Khan took up the terrorism case while handing over the accused to Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) for five more days and asked the investigators to produce the accused on June 6 for further proceedings.

ATC No 2 Special Judge Asif Majeed Awan was supposed to hear the case but he was on leave until Monday. In a surprising move, the judge barred the media from covering the trial.

Qausain Faisal Mufti, a lawyer representing the owner of Top City housing society informed ATC No 1 that the case against his client and other companions was baseless and bogus as Pakistan Rangers and CTD could not find any evidence proving his client as guilty in the case.

He added that Pakistan Rangers picked up his client Moeez, his father-in-law Abdul Razzaq and servants during a raid at his house in the federal capital on May 12 accusing them of having links with MQM London and of shielding criminals involved in Karachi carnage but the case was registered against them after the lapse of five days on May 17 showing huge discrepancies in the case of prosecution.

He told the court that powerful land mafia in alleged nexus with a British national of Pakistani origin Zahida Javaid Aslam wanted to grab the multi-billion housing society of Moeez near New Islamabad International Airport by roping his client Moeez in a bogus terrorism case.

He said that the lie of Aslam that Moeez forcefully grabbed her land and she was not returning to Pakistan because she feared him was also exposed as the lady was wanted to Islamabad police in a case of illegally transferring the precious vehicles of her deceased brother Iftikhar, the real owner of Top City.

The weapons recovered from Top City were legal and had licenses but the Rangers dubbed the recovered weapon as of NATO Forces and also showed explosives in the record of the arrested accused just to implicate them in a fake case, Mufti said. 

The lawyer told the court that Rangers have given seven persons into the custody of CTD Rawalpindi while the three other detainees were still missing and nobody knew their whereabouts. The defence lawyer also presented before the court copies of letters written by Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to DG Rangers.

The CTD prosecutor argued before the court that Rangers had raided the house of Essa Khan at a military-run housing society and recovered huge cache of arms and ammunitions, and explosives and the recovery was also shown in media. He said that later the accused were handed over to CTD and a case had been registered against them on the complaint of Rangers.

He said that CTD arrested other accused from Top City on the confession of Essa Khan made before investigators during the investigation.

Justice Khan after hearing the arguments of the defence lawyer has directed the CTD investigators to listen to the accused and bring on record all the evidence his lawyer wanted to produce for showing his innocence in the case.

The judge also extended the physical remand of the seven accused including the Top City owner in the explosive recovery case and directed CTD to reproduce the accused on June 6 for further proceedings.

Earlier, Inspector Khan Muhammad presented the seven accused and sought a 10-day physical remand for further investigation.

The defence lawyer opposed the CTD prosecutor and argued that CTD could not find any evidence despite grilling the accused for more than 22 days. He prayed to the court that the accused should be sent on judicial remand.

However, the ATC No 1 special judge rejected the plea of police and awarded only five-day physical remand.

The CTD Rawalpindi had lodged a case against the accused Essa and others including Moeez on May 17 under sections ESA 4/5, 7 ATA and PAA 13(B) C/15.

Talking to The Nation outside the court, Mufti said his client is innocent in the case and nothing could be proved against him so far by the investigators. He said the federal interior minister also took serious notice of Top City controversy by writing three letters to DG Rangers asking him that in what capacity the Rangers raided the Top City and that too without taking local police and other law enforcement agencies on board. He said that no reply was given to the interior minister by the DG so far. Ishtiaq Mirza, the lawyer representing Essa in the case, said his client was innocent and implicated in the weapon recovery case without any solid proof.