Court Frees ASI Wrongly Jailed For Arresting ISI Officer In Massage Parlour Raid

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ISLAMABAD: After two and a half years, the Islamabad High Court has suspended the sentence of ASI Zahoor Ahmed, an innocent police officer who became a victim of retaliation by ISI officer Naveed Khan. Ahmed was arrested after Khan was caught red-handed enjoying himself at a massage center during a raid. Subsequently, Khan used the FIA to falsely accuse Ahmed of selling sensitive documents to a Russian diplomat. Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani ordered the immediate release of ASI Zahoor Ahmed on bail on May 30, 2024. Along with suspending his sentence, the court granted his bail application and required him to submit a surety bond of 200,000 rupees.

Interestingly, Zahoor Ahmed, stationed at Golra Police Station in Islamabad, was accused in 2021 of selling secret documents to a diplomat, despite having left Pakistan after completing his service in 2020. Initially, the prosecution claimed to have video evidence of Ahmed handing over documents and receiving money. However, during the trial, they later alleged that the documents were transmitted electronically. It took two and a half years for Zahoor Ahmed to get justice, which he spent behind bars.

The FIA filed the case against ASI Zahoor Ahmed under the Official Secrets Act of 1923 on December 13, 2021. Ahmed’s lawyer argued that his real “crime” was arresting ISI officer Naveed Khan and his three companions during a raid at a massage center in Islamabad. During this raid, four women were also arrested. It was reported that Khan introduced himself to ASI Zahoor, warning him not to make the mistake of arresting him, but Zahoor proceeded nonetheless. Upon his release, Khan retaliated by getting Zahoor arrested in a fabricated case. It is noteworthy that Zahoor Ahmed, along with Assistant Commissioner Islamabad Saniya Hameed, raided two massage centers, Sunshine and Rose Executive, in Sector E-11/3 following public complaints, where Naveed Khan was among those arrested.

A few days after these raids, Zahoor Ahmed was abducted by an intelligence agency. His family filed a missing person report at Golra Police Station, stating that Zahoor had mysteriously disappeared and they had no information about his whereabouts. A few days later, an audio message from Zahoor surfaced on his wife’s WhatsApp, in which he claimed to be in Murree with friends and unable to contact due to a lack of signal. The voice message was suspicious because, if there was no signal, the message should not have been sent. However, Zahoor returned home on November 30, 2021, injured and bearing signs of torture. Family sources reported that Zahoor said he was taken to Murree by the same people who often abduct stubborn journalists for trips to the northern areas.

When this incident became public, Zahoor Ahmed was rearrested, and the FIA filed an FIR against him under the Official Secrets Act on December 13, 2021. A few months later, a local court in Islamabad sentenced him to three years in prison. It is alleged that the false FIR against Zahoor Ahmed was filed at the behest of Naveed Khan by Azmat Khan, the Assistant Director of the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing. However, no action has been taken against Naveed Khan or Azmat Khan, who are reportedly first cousins.

In his order for Zahoor Ahmed’s release, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani stated that since the sentence was short and a quick decision on the appeal was not expected, Zahoor Ahmed’s sentence was suspended, and he was granted bail. During the trial, under Section 342, Zahoor Ahmed testified that he raided a location on the instructions of the Assistant Commissioner of Islamabad, arrested a military officer there, and filed a case against him. Ahmed further stated in his court testimony that the military officer held a grudge against him for this action. Zahoor Ahmed claimed that the military officer fabricated a false story to take revenge, leading to his arrest.

 

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