A Karachi anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday ordered police to arrest detained Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) MNA Ali Wazir in another case related to defaming state institutions and inciting the public against them.
Wazir has been incarcerated at Central Jail Karachi since Dec 2020 in connection with two separate sedition cases registered in Karachi and pending trials before ATCs. A similar case has also been registered at the Miran Shah police station, in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.
Sohrab Goth police had booked the MNA and other PTM leaders, including Alam Zaib, Muhammad Tahir and Noorullah Tareen, in the case in Feb 2019 for allegedly resorting to violence, delivering incendiary speeches and defaming state institutions.
The case was lodged under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot, if rioting be committed; if not committed), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups etc), 500 (punishment for defamation) and 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with the Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, on behalf of the state.
On Monday, the matter came up before the ATC-II judge when Zaib and Tahir appeared before the court on bail.
The judge noted that police inspector Abdul Majeed Nagra had been directed to arrest the remaining absconding accused, Tareen and Wazir, and to produce them before the court.
The judge noted that the report regarding the properties, if any, owned by the absconding accused Tareen, as required under Section 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code, had not been received yet despite issuance of directives.
The police official submitted a report stating that he had to appear before the Sindh High Court and asked the judge to grant him time until the next hearing to formally arrest Wazir.
Granting the request, the judge directed the investigating officer (IO) to arrest Wazir, who is already confined in the Central Jail Karachi, and submit a compliance report on Feb 22.
The judge also issued a production order, directing the prison chief to produce the detained legislator before the court on the next date.
During the hearing, the judge also framed charges against PTM leaders Zaib and Tahir. However, they pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the case.
The judge issued notices to the prosecution witnesses through the IO, directing him to produce them on the next date to record their testimonies.
Supreme Court verifies Wazir’s bail
Meanwhile, the judicial staffers at the ATC-XII told Dawn that the incumbent court had received a letter from the Supreme Court verifying Wazir's post-arrest bail granted on Nov 30, 2021 against a surety of Rs400,000.
On Feb 4, the court’s judge had directed its office to verify from the apex court the bail granted to the MNA, as claimed by his lawyer Abdul Qadir.
Sit-in continues for second day
Meanwhile, transporters and relatives of missing Baloch persons joined PTM protesters who continued their sit-in near the Sindh Assembly's main gate, demanding Wazir's release, for a second consecutive day.
A delegation of Baloch missing persons’ relatives, including Mama Abdul Qadeer Baloch and Abdul Wahab Baloch, met leaders of the PTM and expressed solidarity with them on the occasion.
Representatives of the transport association also met PTM leaders.
With input from Imtiaz Ali