MULTAN: The Lahore High Court’s Multan Bench on Thursday granted bail to former MNA Jamshed Dasti in a case of alleged kidnap of the crew of an oil-tanker and stealing oil.

The Muzaffargarh police had registered a case against the Awami Raj Party head on Feb 6.

Justice Mushtaq Ahmed while granting protective bail to Dasti till Feb 20, directed police to release him. Dasti’s lawyers led by Sheikh Jamshed Hayat informed the court that despite having protective bail from the Peshawar High Court, he was arrested by police with mala fide intention to politically victimise him.

They pleaded that police not only lodged the cases against Dasti but also booked the workers of his party. They said Dasti and his party workers were being victimised as he used to contest elections against the feudal lords of the area.

Additional Advocate General Zulfiqar Ali Sindhu informed the court that 29 cases had been registered against Dasti since 1992. He said that in this particular case, police got the oil-tanker back from the accused and Dasti was arrested according to law.

The court in its remarks stated that police had arrested Dasti in haste and kept him in illegal detention. While setting aside the verdict of area magistrate, the court directed police to unlock the handcuffs.

The party workers showered Dasti with rose petals and shouted slogans in favour of the judiciary.

Speaking to the media, Dasti said he was being victimised on the direction of the government and cases against him had been lodged on the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.

“I am being maltreated and smugglers are being used against me. A false case of oil theft has been lodged against me and my friends while former chairmen of the union councils of my group are being arrested and all of this is being done for participating in the Azadi March of the JUI-F,” he said. He said his release was the victory of truth.

Besides Dasti, two of his former police guards and five aides were nominated in the case.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2020