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KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Wednesday granted interim pre-arrest bail to a former lawmaker belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in two cases pertaining to alleged hate speeches of the MQM founder.

After obtaining weeklong protective bail from the Sindh High Court, the applicant Abdul Qadir Khanzada approached the ATC with his counsel and moved a pre-arrest bail application.

The judge of the antiterrorism court concerned granted him interim bail against a surety bond of Rs100,000 each in two cases pertaining to anti-state offences and attack on media houses after a provocative speech of MQM founder Altaf Hussain at the Karachi Press Club in August 2016.

MQM-Pakistan’s senior leaders, including Amir Khan, Dr Farooq Sattar, now Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Khawaja Izharul Hasan, Kunwar Naveed, Qamar Mansoor, Shahid Pasha and others have already been granted bail in the same cases.

However, the court declared MQM chief Altaf Hussain and MQM-P’s senior leader and present federal minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as proclaimed offenders after the investigating officer declared them absconders in the case.

The cases were lodged at the Artillery Maidan police station after an alleged controversial speech of Altaf Hussain on Aug 22 triggered a violent protest, arson attacks and ransacking of media houses in which a passer-by was killed and several others were wounded.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2018