The Sindh High Court (SHC) dismissed on Tuesday the bail application of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader and MNA Ali Wazir in a case pertaining to the alleged use of provocative language against state institutions.
Peshawar Police had arrested Mohammad Ali, better known as Ali Wazir, and others in December 2020 on the request of Sindh Police for allegedly using defamatory and provocative language against state institutions and the army during a rally in Sohrab Goth.
The detained PTM lawmaker, through his counsel, moved the SHC seeking bail after the trial court had turned down an identical application.
After hearing arguments from both sides, a division bench of the SHC, headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh, dismissed the bail application.
Commenting on the development, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said: "From FIR being lodged [against] a sitting MNA without knowledge or consent of the elected chief minister, to the denial of bail by SHC for [Wazir,] freedom of speech is not protected for elected representatives of the people."
He said "Pakistan must learn to agree to disagree, tolerate dissent and criticism."
Earlier in February, an anti-terrorism court, conducting the trial of Wazir and others, had dismissed the bail application of the PTM leader.
The trial court in its order had observed, “No doubt, the Urdu transcript made by director Pashto academy, University of Peshawar, of such speeches were tentatively accessed by this court and found the contents, which prima facie connect to incite hatred and attempt to excite disaffection towards the state institutions like Pakistan Army, Rangers and Police and also found therein the contents regarding the association of accused Ali Wazir with Afghanistan."
However, the ATC had directed the investigating officer to get an opinion regarding the audio contents of the DVDs from the National Response Centre for Cyber Crime and observed that since the applicant’s lawyer had raised an objection on such a deficiency, he would be at liberty to file a new bail application on the basis of such a report.