KARACHI: While dismissing the bail application of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader MNA Ali Wazir, the Sindh High Court on Tuesday observed that the applicant used uncivilised language against state institutions, which may have potential to create disharmony.

The SHC directed the trial court to decide the case within six months and also asked an antiterrorism court for deeper appreciations of the statement of the applicant recorded by police and the speech translation made by the University of Peshawar as well as the genuine transcript of what he did indeed say in the speech.

A two-judge SHC bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh turned down the bail application of PTM lawmaker Ali Wazir in a case pertaining to the use of alleged provocative language against state institutions.

Mohammad Ali, better known as Ali Wazir, was detained at Peshawar jail in another case and the Sindh police had taken him into their custody in December and shifted him to Karachi after registering a case of allegedly using defamatory and provocative language against state institutions and the army during a rally in Sohrab Goth on Dec 6, 2020.

Stay against demolition of leased houses along nullahs extended

The interned PTM lawmaker, through his counsel, approached the SHC for bail after the ATC had dismissed a similar application in February.

The SHC bench in its order, authored by Justice Omar Sial, said that the lawyer for the applicant had not denied that a public gathering was held on Dec 6 and the applicant had delivered a speech there.

“Upon a tentative assessment of the transcript of the speech which is on record, we have observed that uncouth, vulgar, obscene and uncivilized language has been used by the applicant against institutions of the state apart from language and words that may have the potential of creating disharmony and inciting provincial differences,” the order said.

The bench further said that a healthy and constructive criticism against any person or institution, expressed in a civilised manner, should be permissible, but a distinction must be drawn between criticism and spewing venom through uncouth language.

The order stated, “Before the applicant can however conclusively be held guilty of the offences with which he is charged, it must be ensured that the transcript of the speech on record is shown to be an accurate and genuine transcript of what he did indeed say.”

It further noted that the statement of the applicant recorded under Section 161 of the criminal procedure code by police reflected that he owned the speech and stood by the fact that he did nothing wrong.

The bench said that whether he did say what he was alleged to have said and whether his words amount to an offence under the Pakistan Penal Code was for the trial court to determine after evidence was recorded.

“Similarly, the veracity of arguments advanced by the counsel for applicant that the translation made by the police officer was the same as that made by the University of Peshawar, is also an issue which requires deeper appreciation of evidence which cannot be embarked upon by us in this bail application,” the bench further added.

Stay extended

Another division bench of SHC on Tuesday further extended till August its earlier restraining orders against demolition of leased properties around the Gujjar and Orangi nullahs.

A two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi adjourned the hearing on a set of petitions filed against the ongoing anti-encroachment drive and demolition of leased properties around the drains till the second week of August and said its earlier interim orders would continue till the next hearing.

On Tuesday, the lawyer for the petitioners contended that despite stay orders, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and others respondents had demolished some leased properties.

An assistant commissioner, on behalf of Karachi commissioner office, argued that they could not even imagine violating the orders of this court.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2021

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