PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday extended interim pre-arrest bail for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA Sher Afzal Khan Marwat and stopped the police from arresting him in 11 criminal cases registered against him in different parts of the province.

A bench consisting of Justice Syed Arshad Ali and Justice Naeem Anwar again sought the provincial government’s response to the petitions filed by Mr Marwat for orders to quash cases registered against him.

The schedule of the next hearing will be announced later.

The development came during the hearing into 11 petitions of Mr Marwat for the quashing of FIRs registered against him in different police stations for participating in and addressing party workers’ conventions, which, the government claimed, were held in violation of the standard operating procedures issued by the home department.

Seeks govt’s reply to his plea for quashing FIRs against him

Mr Marwat contended that those cases were registered during the targeting and victimisation of PTI leaders by the government.

He contended that FIRs were registered after worker conventions were held in Mardan, Dir, Swabi, Kohat, and other districts in connection with the February 8 general elections.

The PTI leader argued that holding and addressing a peaceful convention was his legal and constitutional right and not a crime.

He said the high court had issued directives to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the then caretaker government to provide a level playing field to all political parties, but instead, the PTI activists were victimised and cases were registered against them for holding workers’ conventions.

Mr Marwat contended that the PTI was the most popular political party in the country, and therefore, it had been victimised by the caretaker government.

Meanwhile, Mr Marwat condemned an attack on PTI spokesperson Rauf Hassan in Islamabad saying the attack was a message and threat to all those PTI leaders who are openly giving “befitting” reply to the establishment and rival parties in the media.

He, however, said that the PTI activists had endured such a hard time that they couldn’t be pressured by such attacks.

“This [attack on Rauf Hassan] is a very shameful and condemnable act,” he told reporters here after the hearing.

About his differences among party leaders, Mr Marwat said that he neither had any political group in the party nor was ever involved in any conspiracy.

“I am with my leader, Imran Khan, and will continue to follow all his orders,” he said.

The PTI leader said that his services for the party were without any greed for any favour or reward.

He said that Mr Imran was annoyed with him for discussing party differences in the media.

Mr Marwat, however, said that he was tired of what had been happening to him regularly.

Referring to the de-notification of his brother as the special assistant to the KP chief minister and the issuance of a show-cause notice to him, the PTI leader said that those things hurt him because he believed that they were meant to undermine him.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2024

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