An Islamabad anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Friday granted PTI President Parvez Elahi bail in a case pertaining to riots outside the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) in March.
March 18 saw clashes between police and PTI workers amid party chairman Imran Khan’s appearance at the FJC in a hearing for the Toshakhana case.
Elahi is among several PTI leaders and workers who have been arrested amid the state’s crackdown on the PTI leadership following the violent riots in the country after Imran’s first arrest on May 9. He has been arrested at least 11 times in various cases since the start of June.
On September 5, Elahi was arrested in the federal judicial complex case hours after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had suspended his detention under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance and directed his release.
ATC Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain presided over today’s hearing. Lawyers Babar Awan and Sardar Abdul Razzaq appeared as Elahi’s counsel while prosecutor Raja Naveed was also present.
During the hearing, the lawyers argued that Elahi was not nominated in the first information report (FIR), at which the judge accepted the bail plea against surety bonds of Rs20,000.
At the outset of the hearing, the prosecutor informed the court that the case record would be ready soon, at which the judge expressed his displeasure and ordered Elahi’s lawyers to start presenting their arguments.
Awan then contended before the court that his client’s name was not mentioned in the FIR of the case. He further said that the prosecution was not able to “recover anything from Parvez Elahi during his three-day physical remand”.
Stating that Elahi was a “famous politician”, the lawyer argued that he had been arrested “based on suspicion”, whereas “all suspects mentioned in the FIR had been granted bail”.
In his arguments, Razzaq cited various past verdicts and contended that the PTI leader’s name had been added to the FIR six months after it was first filed.
Reiterating Awan’s arguments, Razzaq also pointed out that PTI Chairman Imran Khan, former party secretary general Asad Umar and others nominated in the FIR had already been granted bail in the case.
Both lawyers urged the court to accept the former Punjab chief minister’s bail plea while the prosecutor opposed doing so.
Prosecutor Naveed argued that the sections invoked in the FIR were unbailable. He said that Elahi had been arrested because of a “tip-off from an informant”.
At this, Judge Zulqarnain observed, “Parvez Elahi is not nominated in the FIR. Nothing was recovered during the three-day physical remand either.”
He then accepted Elahi’s bail plea against surety bonds of Rs20,000.
The first information report (FIR) against Elahi was registered at the CTD police station on March 18 on the complaint of Ramna police Station House Officer Malik Rasheed.
The case pertained to the clashes on that day between Islamabad Police and PTI workers outside the Judicial Complex.
The case was lodged under Sections 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 380 (theft in dwelling house, etc), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 427 (mischief causing damage amounting to Rs50), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage), 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
March 18’s events were marred by clashes between the police and PTI workers amid party chairman Imran Khan’s appearance at the Judicial Complex in a hearing for the Toshakhana case.
The Islamabad police had alleged that party workers had shelled the Judicial Complex and set fire to a police post. In turn, the PTI had also accused the police of shelling Imran’s vehicle.