PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday ordered the quashing of two cases registered against former provincial minister and PTI leader Kamran Khan Bangash on charges of sedition and instigation of uprising against state institutions in Lower Chitral and Lower Kohistan districts.

It, however, declared that the proceedings in a similar case registered in Tank district would continue.

A bench consisting of Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Syed M Attique Shah pronounced that the petition of Mr Bangash against three FIRs registered against him was partially accepted as it had ordered the Lower Chitral and Lower Kohistan police to do away with the respective FIRs.

Mr Bangash had sought the quashing of three FIRs registered against him in three districts in Oct 2023 insisting that those cases were based on identical charges that amounted to double-jeopardy and was an illegal and unconstitutional act.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Ali Zaman, argued that his client was named in multiple cases on political grounds to pressure him to leave his party, PTI.

Proceedings in similar case to continue

He pointed out that Mr Bangash was arrested on Oct 20 by local police in Peshawar on the charge of providing shelter to absconding PTI leader Murad Saeed.

The lawyer added that in that case registered at Chamkani police station, the petitioner got bail from an anti-terrorism court on Oct 30 but he wasn’t freed from the Peshawar Central Prison and was instead handed over to Dera Ismail Khan police over a fresh case registered against him for inciting people to violence against state institutions.

He said the petitioner was discharged in that case by a Dera Ismail Khan judicial magistrate on Oct 31 but a fresh FIR was registered in Tank district on the charge of inciting people on social media to violence against state institutions. He added that the petitioner was granted bail in that case by a court in Tank district.

Mr Zaman said in the meantime on almost identical charges, two more FIRs were registered in Lower Chitral and Lower Kohistan on complaints of two people.

He added that all those FIRs were registered under sections 120 B and 153-A of the Pakistan Penal Code.

During the hearing, Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim observed that the court recently delivered a judgement declaring the practice of registering multiple FIRs of the same offence unconstitutional and illegal.

In the FIRs, the complainants had alleged that PTI leader Kamran Bangash had been sharing provocative and malicious materials against state institutions from his Facebook ID “disparaging their image in public and creating estrangement in the society against the state.”

Meanwhile, Mr Bangash told reporters that he submitted an application to the returning officer of Peshawar’s PK-82 over a week ago to get attested copies of all Forms 45 of the constituency from where his rival candidate was declared elected, but the latter wasn’t responding to his request.

He said manipulated consolidated poll results (Form 47) were issued by the RO turning his victory into a defeat.

The PTI leader demanded that all Forms 45 on the basis of which election results were prepared be made public.

He claimed that ROs were preparing forged Forms 45 in support of manipulated consolidated results.

Mr Bangash said he was implicated in fake cases as he always issued statements in accordance with the law and the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2024

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