Islamabad: A Pakistani anti-terrorism
court has dismissed the acquittal plea of three men arrested for their alleged links with Faisal Shahzad, jailed in the US for a botched car bomb attack in New York`s Times Square in
May last year.
Special Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan of the
Rawalpindi-based court yesterday dismissed the plea filed by
Akhtar and Mohammad Shoaib Mughal of Rawalpindi and Mohammad
Shahid Hussain of Islamabad.
The judge said they would be given a proper
opportunity to defend themselves during their trial.
The court adjourned the matter till April 15 and will
record the statements of prosecution witnesses at the next
Police arrested the three accused on the Islamabad Highway on September 5 last year and seized their vehicle, a laptop and pro-Taliban literature.
They have been charged under different sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, Anti-Terrorism Act and a cyber crimes
"In their application for acquittal, the accused said
they were picked up by intelligence agencies in May last year
from their residences and their relatives registered FIRs
regarding their abduction," according to Basharratullah Khan, the counsel for the three men.
He said an inquiry commission set up by the Interior Ministry to trace people detained without charge by security
agencies had reported the alleged abduction of the three men.
Prosecution lawyer Tayyab Shah said such an inquiry
report could not be used for acquittal.
If there was any report about the men being missing,
the defence lawyer should produce the document in the court as
evidence, he said.
He alleged that it had been established during investigations that the three men were not picked up by
security agencies but they had gone into hiding and were later
arrested by police.
The court was informed that the accused had, in a
statement made before a judicial magistrate, confessed to
their links with Shahzad and to providing him USD 43,000 for
carrying out the terror attack.
The prosecution lawyer said investigators had obtained
the record of a conversation between the accused and Shahzad.