LAHORE: A judicial magistrate on Thursday released all 58 workers of PML-N on bail who were arrested for attacking a police team outside the office of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) when Maryam Nawaz, the party’s vice president, came to appear in an inquiry into a land allotment case.

The other day, the magistrate had remanded the workers in judicial custody and issued notices to Chuhng police on their bail petitions.

During a day-long hearing, Advocate Farhad Ali Shah argued on behalf of the workers that the FIR was false and frivolous. He said the petitioners had been wrongly implicated in the case while they were innocent with no criminal history.

The counsel alleged that the FIR had been registered due to political pressure. He pointed out that the petitioners in jail [on judicial remand] were no more required by the police for investigation. He asked the magistrate to release the petitioners on bail.

Party men were arrested during clash with police outside NAB office

A state prosecutor opposed the bail and argued that the suspects/petitioners were nominated in the FIR. He said there was sufficient material available with the police to establish the offence committed by the suspects.

After advancing some arguments, the prosecutor requested the court for an adjournment saying a special committee of prosecutors had been constituted to oppose the bail petitions.

In his verdict, Magistrate Hafiz Nafees Yousaf observed that all the offences except the offence under section 440 of the PPC (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt) were bailable in nature.

However, he noted that the alleged offence did not fall within the embargo of prohibition.

The magistrate said as per the available record, a general role had been assigned to the suspects and no specific injury was attributed to any person.

“The veracity of the allegations leveled against the accused persons can only be gauged at the trial stage,” ruled the magistrate allowing the bail petitions by all 58 workers of PML-N.

The petitioners were directed to furnish bail bonds of Rs50,000 each.

Meanwhile, an additional district & sessions judge granted interim pre-arrest bail to PML-N MNA Malik Saiful Malook Khokhar and four others nominated in the same FIR lodged against several party leaders including Maryam Nawaz, her husband retired Capt Muhammad Safdar, MNAs Rana Sanaullah Khan, Javed Latif, and over 300 workers.

The judge allowed the petitioners bail till Aug 27 and sought a report from the Chuhng SHO.

Besides the section 440, the FIR also carries charges under section 147 (punishment for rioting), section 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), section 290 (punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for), section 291 (continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue), section 109 (punishment of abetment), section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and section 86 (offence requiring a particular intent or knowledge committed by one who is intoxicated) of the PPC.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2020

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