1st December 2021
By Rehan Piracha
Finally after 11 months of incarceration in Karachi jail, the Supreme Court on November 30 granted bail to Ali Wazir, member of National Assembly and leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM). Wazir was arrested in one of the cases against him over anti-state speeches.
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, accepted Ali Wazir’s appeal against dismissal of his bail application by the Sindh High Court on June 1. The bench set bail at Rs400,000.
In February, an anti-terrorism court in Karachi had also rejected his bail application in the case registered with Sohrab Goth Police Station for allegedly insulting state institutions at a PTM public gathering in Karachi on December 6, 2020.
The Supreme Court said other co-accused in the case were granted bail which was not challenged, observing that Ali Wazir could not be kept in jail if the co-accused have been granted bail.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Latif Afridi, counsel for Ali Wazir said he pleaded before the apex court to set aside the high court order on the grounds that the offences in the case were based on colonial-era laws and violated fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution. The first investigation report was filed with mala fide intent as the complainant, a police official, did not understand Pashto, the language in which Ali Wazir’s made the speech, the counsel argued.
Besides, there was no evidence to support charges of terrorism inserted in the FIR, Afridi pleaded. He said the court also took into consideration the fact that all other co-accused had been granted bail in the case
Five FIRs against Ali Wazir
Qadir Khan, counsel for Ali Wazir in the trial court, told Voicepk.net that the MNA had been nominated in five FIRs over anti-state speeches in Karachi. However, he said Ali Wazir was arrested in two cases registered with Sohrab Goth Police Station and Shah Latif police station respectively. Both cases carry similar charges, he pointed out.
“The Supreme Court has granted bail in the case registered with Sohrab Goth Police Station while he has to secure bail in case of Shah Latif police station,” he pointed out.
Asked whether Ali Wazir would be released from jail following the bail granted by Supreme Court, Qadir Khan said the MNA had to secure bail in Shah Latif police case for his release from prison. “The anti-terrorism court had indicted Ali Wazir and other co-accused in the Shah Latif Police Station case earlier this month,” the counsel said.
“We will move bail application in the anti-terrorism court when it holds a regular hearing in the Shah Latif Police case tomorrow (December 1),” Qadir Khan told Voicepk.net. The counsel said he would plead before the trial court to grant his client bail as charges of the case are similar to those in which the Supreme Court has granted bail to Ali Wazir.
The State is releasing people through negotiations: Justice Sardar Tariq Masood
The federal government’s recent negotiations with the banned Tehrik Taliban Pakistan echoed in the hearing of the jailed PTM leader. The State is releasing people through negotiations, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood observed without naming whom he was referring to.
It’s possible that the matters with Ali Wazir are settled tomorrow,” Justice Sardar Tariq Masood observed. People are being martyred and do not provisions of law apply there, the judge questioned. “Is the court here just to reject bails?”
Referring to the agreement with Tehrik Labaik Pakistan, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood said the court cancelled their bails only for the government to later sign agreements with them.
Justice Jamal Mandokhail said questioned whether issues raised by Ali Wazir should have been discussed in Parliament. Ali Wazir had complained and his grievances should have been addressed, observed Justice Jamal Mandokhail. “Why our own (people) are being turned into strangers instead of being embraced,” the judge added. “What will happen if even one allegation of Ali Wazir turns out to be true?” Justice Jamal Mandokhail said.
Justice Mandokhail remarked that seeing the treatment meted out to the other accused in the case, it seemed to be a case of “good Taliban [and] bad Taliban”.
Bail decision welcomed
Manzoor Pashteen, head of the PTM, welcomed the grant of bail to Ali Wazir saying that other workers arrested on politically motivated charges would be released soon. “Finally, Ali Wazir granted bail by the SC. He remained incarcerated for more than a year on politically motivated charges in Karachi prison. Hope that Hanif & Owaisl will also be released soon. Thanks to all pol.parties, Lawyers,journalists &everyone who raised voice for Ali,” Pashteen tweeted.
Ali Wazir was arrested from Peshawar on December 16 and brought to Karachi to stand trial in the case.