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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 31/03/2014
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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Threats to the prosecutors, police officers and the judge, have further delayed the conclusion of the six-year- old pending trial of the assassination of the former Pakistani prime minister, Benazir Bhutto



Due to the warning issued by the newly surfaced extremist militant outfit Ahrarul Hind, statements of the three key prosecution witnesses could not be recorded in the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Rawalpindi



After the March 3 terrorist attacks on the district courts of Islamabad, special prosecutor, Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry, as well as three police officers have not appeared in the court because of the threats. It may be noted that Ahrarul Hind is the same organisation that claimed the responsibility for the recent attacks on the districts courts



A text message released by the militant outfit warned the ATC judge, former city police officer Rawalpindi, Saud Aziz, and Inspector Kashif Riaz of an attack.



Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry said that after the receipt of the threat, he contacted the relevant police and government authorities to request for a security escort, but the request is still pending



Though, the prosecutor admitted that his absence was causing a delay in the conclusion of the trial, he added that the lethargy of the police authorities had hindered his appearance as it was impossible for him to reach the ATC from his native town of Sialkot, without proper security protocol




Referring to last year's assassination of his fellow prosecutor Chaudhy Zulfiqar Ali, he said that the warning issued by the militant outfit could not be taken lightly. It may be mentioned that the ATC had adjourned its proceedings, without any progress, on March 8, 15, 22 and 29, because of the absence of the prosecutor and the prosecution witnesses



Pakistan People's Party's information secretary, Qamar Zaman Kaira, when contacted, termed it unfortunate that neither the federal government, nor the Punjab government was serious enough to address the issues related to the security of the prosecutor. The murder case has already been delayed inordinately and it should not be further lingered on, he added



The police officers, then city police officer, Saud Aziz, and superintendent police, Khurram Shahzad, who have been implicated in the said murder case, also expressed their disappointment over the absence of the prosecutor, which, according to them, lingered on the six year old trial
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