Karachi: Ajmal Pahari accused of over 100 murders set free

Karachi: Almost two years ago the alleged target killer, Ajmal Pahari, was arrested for involvement of over a hundred murders, he confessed on camera for over a hundred murders and getting extensive training from New Delhi.

SSP Chaudhry Aslam arrested him from Karachi and said it was a major success in the fight against terrorism and target killings, saying Pahari was a notorious target killer wanted in 111 cases of target killings.

The JIT (Joint Investigation Team) report, however, could not be proved in court as the accused and all the witnesses of the murder cases retracted their statements that earlier accused Pahari of murders. The court was therefore left with no option but to order his release in accordance with the law of the land.

Ajmal Pahari went by the alias of Adnan Bhai and was arrested by the Anti Extremist Cell of Karachi Police’s Crime Investigation Department on March 18, 2011 from his New Karachi area hideout.

During subsequent interrogations by the JIT, Pahari had confessed to having killed 111 people in Karachi on the alleged instructions of Muttahida Qaumi Movement top brass.

The MQM leadership was quick to defend Pahari and refute his involvement, with Mustafa Kamal holding a press conference saying he was arrested on flimsy charges and tortured into making false confessions about killing people on the instructions of the MQM leadership.

As a five-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took suo moto notice of the law and order situation in the port city in September 2011, then IGP Sindh Wajid Durrani was asked to submit a comprehensive report on those groups and individuals that were involved in target killings.

The records subsequently provided to the chief justice also included Ajmal Pahari’s interrogation report by the JIT, bearing No SO (Le-I) /3-16-2010-/2010 dated 31-03-2011. As per Pahari’s own video-recorded confessional statement which can be viewed below, he had confessed to having received training in India and killing 111 people in Karachi out of which 53 were shot dead between 1986 to 2000 and 58 others killed between 2005 to 2011, till his arrest.

He claimed that instructions for these killings used to come from the London Secretariat; from Nine Zeero in Karachi and from South Africa. “After receiving instructions from London, Zeeshan and I went to Singapore in 1996. From there I went to India for training”, the JIT report quoted Pahari as saying.

Having gone through Pahari’s declaration of guilt, the CJP had termed it an eye-opener and directed the IG Sindh Police to inform the apex court about the status of cases against the alleged target killer.

In his reply, IG Wajid Durrani said Pahari was behind bars and being tried in dozens of cases of murder and attempted-murder. However, over the next 12 months, quite surprisingly, Pahari was acquitted in all the 15 murder cases which were dismissed for want of evidence.

Pahari had retracted his confessional statement, saying it was recorded by his interrogators under duress and torture, which was followed by the retraction statements of all the witnesses in the undertrial murder cases filed against him.

He further pleaded that all the murder cases filed against him had already proven false and that under the MPO, no person could be detained for a period exceeding three months unless a board had reported before the expiry of detention order that in its opinion there was sufficient cause for such detention. The Sindh High Court was prayed to set aside the impugned detention order, and order the release of Pahari forthwith.

A division bench, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was left with no option but to order his release on January 18, 2013.