PESHAWAR, April 1: An anti-terrorism court here on Friday sent about 40 people, including some activists of the Pukhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), to judicial lock-up. The accused have been arrested under anti-terrorism act The accused, arrested during Thursday’s strike of the Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement, were produced before the court presided over by Shahjee Rehman Khan by the police.

A total of 37 people were arrested by the University Town police, whereas three were arrested by the Kabuli police. Those arrested included PMAP central vice-president Arbab Mujeeb and provincial president Mukhtiar Khan Yousafzai.

The police requested the court to give them the remand of the arrested people as they needed time to interrogate them. It claimed that the accused had damaged public property and terrorized the common people during the strike.

A panel of lawyers, including Abdul Lateef Afridi, Shah Faisal and Arshad Khan, appeared for the accused and contended that there was no ground to give them in police custody. Mr Afridi maintained that most of the arrested people were passers-by and had nothing to do with the strike. He said that raising voice against price hike and unjust policies of the government was the right of every citizen.

The court refused to remand the accused in police custody and ordered that they should be shifted to the prison. The accused are charged under section 6/7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, read with sections 353, 341, 342, 324, 427, 148 and 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Mr Afridi told Dawn that they would move bail applications for the accused on Saturday. Some of the arrested accused told Dawn that they were small-time vendors and were arrested after an enraged mob ransacked public property on the University Road.