PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has petitioned the Peshawar High Court for the cancellation of bail granted by anti-terrorism courts to over 300 residents booked for involvement in the May 9-10 violent protests, including the ransacking of the Radio Pakistan building and Election Commission of Pakistan’s regional offices in Peshawar.
The provincial advocate general office filed several petitions for bail cancellation in connection with six FIRs registered in Peshawar district and Khyber tribal district’s Landi Kotal area.
The petitions were originally sent to the AG office by the respective senior public prosecutors in Peshawar’s three anti-terrorism courts.
The prosecution claimed that though enough offence evidence was available against the suspects, the ATCs accepted their bail pleas.
Claims ATCs freed over 300 suspects though evidence of their offence available
During the last couple of days, the three ATCs had granted bail to over 300 of the suspects arrested by the local police in the six cases.
In a petition, the prosecution said that after smashing the main gate of the Radio Pakistan premises in Peshawar, the protesters torched the building and vehicles parked there spreading fear, terror and insecurity in the society.
It added that the police had tactfully arrested 20 of the suspects from the mob, while the rest of 200-300 miscreants managed to escape.
The prosecution said the police had arrested several others in the case afterwards.
It formally requested the high court to set aside the orders of ATCs and order the arrest of all suspects contending that the orders of the anti-terrorism courts were apparently illegal, erroneous and factually incorrect and thus, resulting in miscarriage of justice.
The prosecution contended that most of the suspects were arrested red-handed by the police but the ATCs “erred” while granting them bail.
It claimed that several suspects were also directly charged in the relevant FIR and there was every likelihood that they would repeat the offence after their release on the acceptance of bail applications by the ATCs.
In the attack and ransacking of the Radio Pakistan building in Peshawar, the Chaghi Mountain monument was also torched and several vehicles and other structures were damaged and set on fire. Its FIR was registered at the East Cantonment police station on May 10 under different provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act.
In the case, 46 of the suspects got the bail on the condition of furnishing two surety bonds of Rs100,000 each.
Similarly, the FIR against attacking and damaging the regional office of the Election Commission of Pakistan here on the Shami Road was also registered in the East Cant police station on May 10 under the provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act. The anti-terrorism court granted bail to 34 of the suspects in that case.
The Khan Raziq Shaheed police station booked people for damaging and torching an ambulance of the Edhi Foundation, damaging several ATM machines of different banks and smashing the main gate of a woman’s government college during a protest demonstration against the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan. The ATC granted bail to 77 of the suspects in the case.
Three other FIRs of violent protests were registered by the Faqirabad and Hayatabad police stations in Peshawar and the Landi Kotal police station in Khyber district. Around 150 suspects have secured bail from ATCs in three cases.
Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2023