IHC grants bail to 408 under-trial prisoners

Published March 25, 2020
Fishermen from India stand behind bars in a lockup, after being detained in Pakistani waters, at a police station in Karachi April 18, 2015. According to local media, Pakistan maritime authorities arrested 47 Indian fishermen and took into custody their eight boats for illegal fishing in the country's territorial waters, police said on Saturday. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
Fishermen from India stand behind bars in a lockup, after being detained in Pakistani waters, at a police station in Karachi April 18, 2015. According to local media, Pakistan maritime authorities arrested 47 Indian fishermen and took into custody their eight boats for illegal fishing in the country's territorial waters, police said on Saturday. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

ISLAMABAD: The Islam­abad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday considered the post-arrest bail for 27 NAB suspects, including leading bankers and entrepreneurs allegedly involved in the fake bank accounts scam, and granted bail to 408 under-trial prisoners (UTPs).

The 408 UTPs are facing cases relating to narcotics and other crimes. They have filed applications through the superintendent of Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, seeking bail because of an imminent threat of the coronavirus outbreak in prisons.

The jail administration had earlier informed the IHC that the authorised accommodation in Adiala jail was for 2,174 inmates, but at present it housed 5,001 of whom 1,362 belonged to Islamabad.

On the directive of IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, the district administration had examined the record of arrest of accused involved in petty nature of cases and released 300 under-trial prisoners.

The IHC, however, constituted two committees — one comprising officials of the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) that will examine individual cases of the suspects, and the other consisting of representatives of the chief commissioner, ANF director general and inspector general of Islamabad police that will examine and set modalities for the release of 408 UTPs.

The court observed that the committee while considering the individual cases might keep in mind that the accused should not abscond, cause any harm to society or may repeat the offence, adding that the investigation officer concerned might set parameters in this regard. This order shall also cover those cases in which bail may have been refused earlier because prevention of outbreak of novel coronavirus and its potential spread in prisons is definitely a fresh ground, it said.

NAB suspects

An IHC division bench com­­prising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Fiaz Ahmed Anjum Jandran took up 27 bail applications filed by fake bank accounts case suspects, including Hus­­­sain Lawai, Taha Raza and Dr Dinshaw Hoshang Ankle­saria, as well as accused in the Modaraba fraud cases.

The applicants were seeking bail because of the threat of coronavirus outbreak in jails.

Bilal Ahmad Malik, the special prosecutor, appea­red on behalf of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and requested for a short adjournment.

The hearing was adjour­ned to Wednesday (today).

Shifting of pilgrims

Meanwhile, a lawyer filed a petition in the IHC against the shifting from Taftan to Faisalabad of the pilgrims returning to Pakistani from Iran.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2020

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