KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court granted on Thursday an interim pre-arrest bail to Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui in the Baldia factory fire case.

The MPA through his lawyer moved the bail application since the court had declared him as accused after allowing an application of prosecution on Jan 6.

After a preliminary hearing, the judge of the ATC-VII, who is hearing the case at the judicial complex inside the central prison, granted interim bail to Mr Siddiqui against a surety bond of Rs100,000 till Jan 27 and issued a notice to prosecutor for arguments.

The court also directed the investigating officer to initiate proceedings of proclamation and attachment of property against Hyderabad-based businessman Ali Hasan Qadri after the IO said that warrant could not be executed since the suspect was abroad. The court had dismissed the bail application of Qadri at a previous hearing over his extended absence.

Meanwhile, the court deferred till next hearing its order on the pre-arrest bail applications of seven other suspects, including Umer Hasan Qadri, brother of Ali Hasan, Dr Abdul Sattar Khan, Iqbal Adib Khanum and some gatekeepers of the factory.

The detained suspects Abdul Rehman, alias Bhola, the former MQM sector incharge, and Zubair, alias Charya, along with their accomplices have been booked for allegedly setting the factory ablaze in September 2012 on the instruction of the then head of the MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee Hammad Siddiqui since its owners failed to pay protection money. The Qadri bothers and others have been booked for purportedly using the money allegedly extorted from the factory owners on the pretext of compensation for victims.

Sharjeel’ plea against arrest dismissed

An accountability court dismissed on Thursday applications of former provincial information minister Sharjeel Memon and an official of information department seeking contempt proceedings against officials of the National Accountability Bureau over their arrest.

NAB had filed a reference in 2016 against the former minister, the then provincial information secretary Zulfiqar Ali Shalwani and others for allegedly committing corruption between 2013 and 2015 in awarding advertisements of the provincial government’s awareness campaigns in electronic media that caused a loss of around Rs3.27 billion to the national exchequer.

Sharjeel Memon and deputy director of the information department Mansoor Ahmed Rajput moved the applications and sought contempt proceedings against investigating officer Asif Raza Memon and two other officials of NAB for arresting them on the premises of the Sindh High Court and misleading the trial court through a memo of arrest.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2018

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