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Bahria Town drag race: Main organiser arrested in Dubai

ISLAMABAD: Bahria Town car race case took a new turn on Thursday when the investigation officer told the Supreme Court that Atif Sheikh, the main event organiser, was arrested last week in Dubai through Interpol.

DIG Mubasharrullah informed the court that Atif had applied for political asylum. On the other hand, lawyer of the chief executive of Bahria Town said there was no case pending against Ali Riaz, the son of real estate businessmen Malik Riaz.

Responding to a question, Hamid Khan, the lawyer of Ali Riaz, said that affidavits of the compromise between legal heirs of drag race victims and his client were submitted in the district and sessions court on a humanitarian basis.

The police officer told the two-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that after extradition of the main accused from Dubai, the police could investigate the matter thoroughly.

However, the Supreme Court directed the investigation agency to expedite the investigation and produce challans of the accused before the lower court in time so the case may be resolved. The chief justice told police officials that due to police negligence and delay, people were suffering in prison.

Justice Chaudhry directed the lower court to continue the proceeding of the case on merit and not deny legal and constitutional relief to the accused.

Moreover, Additional Advocate General Punjab Khadim Hussain Qaiser told the court that the government had initiated efforts for extradition of Atif Sheikh from Dubai.

Responding to a question of the court, he said sponsors of the event could not be arrested so far. On this, the chief justice said action should be taken against them.

The police official submitted that the sponsors have been declared guilty and have been charged in this case. DIG Mubashar stated that notices have been issued to the concerned people from the above organisations for sponsoring the ‘Drag Car Race’ during which an accident took place and five persons lost their lives besides leaving two persons injured.

He said the accused officials of the sponsor companies said that Sheikh was responsible for permission and they were not involved in any illegality.

Chief justice said, “If federal ministers and members of assemblies can be arrested then why not these officials involved in five murders.”

Justice Ghulam Rabbani said that the court has no grudges against anyone and asked the investigation officer and the lower court to continue their work on merit without taking any prejudice from the apex court’s proceedings.

The court adjourned the case for four weeks, saying that the “Interior Ministry, Federal Investigation Agency and Foreign Office may succeed to bring back the main accused Atif Sheikh in the given time”.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2011.

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