ATC dismisses bail pleas of opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh

Published March 2, 2021
In this Oct 2020 file photo, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh addresses a press conference in Karachi. — APP
In this Oct 2020 file photo, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh addresses a press conference in Karachi. — APP

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Monday dismissed the bail applications of Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh and four others in cases pertaining to instigating violence, attempted murder and terrorism.

Mr Sheikh, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, along with dozens of other party activists has been booked and arrested in connection with four criminal cases related to instigating violence, rioting, attempted murder and causing terror during the Feb 16 PS-88 by-election and obstructing and attacking officials during demolition of his farmhouse on Feb 6.

Currently, Mr Sheikh and five others, who were remanded in judicial custody, had moved bail applications in two of the four cases registered under the anti-terrorism law.

On Monday, the ATC-II pronounced its verdict reserved on the applications.

The court noted that the allegation against Mr Sheikh was that he had created disturbance at a polling station and on his instigation his companions, including Mohammad Ramzan, Mehmood, Ghulam Mustafa Hafeez, had fired shots into the air to terrorise people. It said that suspect Abdul Haseeb was alleged to have been armed with a baton and he damaged a police mobile by smashing its windscreen.

The judge observed that Mr Sheikh was alleged to be the main character who allegedly spread terror among voters through his armed guards by resorting to firing.

While ruling that the applicants were not entitled to the grant of bail, the court dismissed their bail applications.

The fifth suspect, Ghulam Mustafa, was granted bail subject to furnishing a surety of Rs50,000 in the same case.

Earlier, defence counsel Umar Asad had argued that his client Haleem Adil was a member of the provincial assembly and also the leader of the opposition. He was victimised by the provincial government, which registered the present cases against him, he said.

He contended that no complaint was lodged by the presiding officer regarding any disturbance at the said polling station, adding that his client had been assigned the role of instigation but provisions of Section 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code was applied, neglecting that the facts of the case did not constitute any offence under Section 324.

All other offences except Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 are bailable, the counsel argued, adding that the applicant was a staunch critic of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and he had been implicated in the present cases with ulterior motives.

The state prosecutor had vehemently opposed the bail pleas, arguing that Mr Sheikh had caused terror at the polling station and scared away the voters while his accomplices had resorted to firing and they were arrested on the spot along with different weapons, thus they were not entitled to the grant of bail.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021

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