KARACHI: Khawaja Izharul Hassan, leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, was on Monday granted interim bail by an antiterrorism court in three cases of hate speeches and sedition.
The court approved his interim bail in the sum of Rs25,000 each in the three cases, two relating to listenting to, organising and facilitating a speech of party founder Altaf Hussain against the military establishment and security agencies, and the other regarding the incidents of Aug 22 when workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement attacked two media houses.
Mr Hasan has been booked in 30 cases and he had obtained protective bail from the Sindh High Court in most of them.
According to him, all the cases were cooked up and politically motivated.
His counsel contended that no role in the cases against the opposition leader was assigned, so his implication in these cases was unfair.
He submitted that his client was ready to face cases in court and wanted that he be given bail as there was no likelihood that he would not turn up in court.
After hearing arguments on the plea, the judge granted Mr Hassan interim bail till Oct 5 ordering him to submit a surety of Rs75,000 (Rs25,000 for each case).
The hearing of rest of the cases in which he is already on bail was adjourned till Oct 27.
The complainants in the cases stated that MQM chief Altaf Hussain had criticised the government and the country’s security agencies, and his slanderous remarks hurt their feelings. They also alleged that the MQM chief had instigated his workers against the security agencies.
Mr Hussain had delivered a speech accusing the paramilitary force of torturing and killing his party workers.
The cases against the MQM chief and leaders was registered under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging or attempting or abetting war against the country), 122 (collection of arms with intention to wage war), 123-A (condemning the creation of the country and advocating the abolishment of its sovereignty) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 25-D of the Telegraph Act and section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act
Media house attack case
The police submitted before the administrative judge of the ATCs the final charge sheet in two cases of sedition registered against party founder Altaf Hussain and other party leaders and workers following the Aug 22 incidents.
According to the charge sheets, 52 accused persons were shown arrested, while over 1,950 others, including Dr Farooq Sattar, Amir Khan and Gul Faraz Khattak, were shown absconders.
According to the FIR, after listening to an incendiary speech of their London-based chief Altaf Hussain on Aug 22 at a hunger strike camp outside the Karachi Press Club, activists resorted to a violent protest, ransacking media houses, killing Syed Azan Arif, wounding around seven others, torching a police van and a motorbike, rioting and clashing with police personnel.
The case was registered under sections 302 (premeditated murder), 324 (attempted murder), 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 123-A (condemnation of the creation of the state and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty), 124-A (sedition), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage, etc), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc), 337 (shajjah), 506-B (criminal for intimidation) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the Artillery Maidan police station.
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2016
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