Islamabad: Three men arrested on the charges of financing Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad`s botched car bombing in New York`s Times Square pleaded not guilty after an anti-terrorism court formally indicted them.
Mohammad Shahid Hussain of Islamabad and Rawalpindi residents Hunbal Akhtar and Mohammad Shoaib Mughal yesterday denied the charges and said they would defend themselves during a hearing in the anti-terrorism court of Judge Malik Mohammad Akram Awan.
The judge scheduled the next hearing for November 24 after directing the prosecution to produce witnesses to support the charges.
Police in Islamabad had charged the three men with having links with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud and extending financial support to Shahzad for the terrorist attack in the US.
Investigators said it had been established that the trio had contacts with Shahzad, who was arrested by US authorities shortly after the botched attack in May.
The investigators said the three men met Mehsud and Shahzad at the home of one Shoaib for a week. Three suicide bombers were present during the meetings.
Two of the bombers were Qaiser Mehmood and Qari Hussain while the third remained unidentified.
The bombers who stayed at Shoaib`s house later carried out suicide attacks in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, they said.
Police said abduction cases were registered with different police stations in Islamabad and Rawalpindi regarding the disappearance of Hussain, Akhtar and Mughal.
On September 05, police said they received information that the three had gone underground and had not been kidnapped. Police said they arrested the three men near Islamabad Highway when they were travelling in a car.
Two other men who were in the car escaped.
Police said a laptop and maps of important buildings of Islamabad, including parliament, were found in the vehicle. They said the accused, in their statement before a judicial magistrate, had confessed to their links with Shahzad and to providing him USD 13,000 in February and March through a money changer in Blue Area of Islamabad.