PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court here on Monday granted bail to a journalist, Khadim Khan Afridi, arrested by counter-terrorism department few days ago in connection with the murder of a policeman around a decade ago.

The court accepted his bail petition on condition of furnishing two sureties of Rs100,000 each.

Khaidm Afridi, who is a former president of Bara Press Club in Khyber tribal district, was taken into custody on May 13 by officials of counter-terrorism department (CTD). His arrest triggered protests by journalists in different cities, especially Khyber.

Initially, the whereabouts of Mr Khadim were not known. After few days of his arrest, he was traced in the Peshawar Central Prison.

Orders petitioner to furnish two sureties of Rs100,000 each

Advocate Farhadullah Afridi appeared for the petitioner and stated that in 2013 some unidentified motorcyclists attacked personnel of Rider Squad of police in the limits of Gulbahar police station that resulted in death of one policeman and injuries to another.

He said that the FIR of the occurrence was registered against unidentified attackers. He added that that a motorcycle used in the occurrence was left by the attackers and subsequently CTD arrested a person named Sadiq Shah as its owner.

The counsel said that the suspect had allegedly told police that he had sold the motorcycle to a person named Khadim. He added that neither the parentage of the said person was given nor there were concrete details about him.

Farhadullah stated that CTD claimed that it had source report that his client Khadim Afridi was the owner of the motorcycle and was involved in the occurrence. He contended that merely being namesake of a suspect, his client could not be arrested.

He pointed out that in an irresponsible manner his client was sent to prison under section 56 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and after his colleagues and lawyers raised hue and cry, he was finally taken out from prison by Gulbahar police.

He stated that during subsequent investigation by police, it transpired to them that he was not the person required to them. He contended that the petitioner was a respectable citizen and a mediaperson and was falsely implicated in the case.

The lawyer argued that after the occurrence almost a decade had passed and the petitioner during that period continued to perform his journalistic duties.

He added that even the suspect, who had given the name of Khadim to CTD, had told police that he was not the said person.

He also requested the court to discharge the petitioner in the instant case as it had now been clearly proved that he was innocent and his arrest was not based on any evidence.

Published in Dawn,May 24th, 2022

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