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KARACHI: An additional district and sessions judge (South) on Thursday reserved her order on an application seeking registration of a counter FIR pertaining to violent protests in Lyari against Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is also a candidate from the NA-246 constituency.

The ADJ (South), Shazia Asif, reserved her order on the plea after hearing arguments from both sides and fixed July 16 for its announcement.

MQM leader Mehfooz Yar Khan moved an application under Section 22-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) seeking direction for the Kalri SHO to register an FIR against the PPP’s young chief and other party leaders over an alleged armed attack on the protesters during an electioneering rally in his constituency on July 1.

He had named PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Sherry Rehman, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Nabeel Gabol and Javed Nagori.

Advocate Liaquat Ali, who represented the PPP leaders, opposed the application arguing that the applicant was not aggrieved in any incident during which he was neither present nor was he a resident of the area.

He further argued that none of the PPP leaders or workers had attacked any of the protesters, who on the contrary had pelted their vehicles with stones, damaging them and also forcing closure of the shops in the area. He added that none of the residents had either approached the police or had filed an affidavit in the trial court to claim that he or she had been hurt or was aggrieved in the incident.

The lawyer contended that the MQM leader had moved the application with mala fide intention to book the PPP leaders in a false case just with political motives, as one of the protesters, Rafiq Hingoro, booked in the FIR belonged to the MQM and was its candidate.

He argued that in the light of the apex court’s ruling more than one FIR of the same incident could not be registered and, therefore, pleaded that the application be dismissed.

On Wednesday, the applicant’s counsel, Javed Chhattari, argued that peaceful female residents of the locality were protesting against non-supply of water during a rally of the PPP chief in the constituency, when his private security guards pelted them with stones.

He said the police booked 400 unidentified residents, including Rafiq Hingoro, the MQM candidate from PS-107, on the charges of rioting and spreading terror.

A case under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 268 (public nuisance), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 was registered against them at the Kalri police station.

The counsel produced a video footage of the incident and claimed that Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s private guards could be seen pelting the unarmed protesters with stones. He said the applicant filed an application with the Kalri SHO for the registration of a counter FIR against the PPP leaders and workers, but they refused to entertain his plea. Therefore, he pleaded to the court to order the SHO of Kalri to register an FIR against Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and others on the same charges as mentioned in the MQM candidate and others’ application.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018