IHC grants bail to 23 PTM activists

By: INP      Published: 02:07 PM, 3 Feb, 2020
Islamabad High Court

The Islamabad High Court on Monday granted post-arrest bail to activists who had been detained for protesting against the arrest of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the plea and granted bail to 23 activists belonging to PTM and Awami Workers Party (AWP).

During the proceedings, Justice Minallah expressed his displeasure at the Islamabad police chief's absence from the court. "We did not expect this of your government. You are the representative of the state here, it is the state's job to protect its people," Justice Minallah said to the deputy commissioner while adding that the government should admit if they are wrong.

"We will get to the bottom of this case. How could you question someone's patriotism? Do you think constitutional courts will shut their eyes on a matter like this?" the Chief Justice remarked while giving the deputy commissioner a week's time to consult the Islamabad IGP and come up with a report on the incident.

The Chief Justice had on Saturday sought an explanation from the capital police and the district administration for invoking the offence of sedition against these protesters.

The court had also ordered the Islamabad deputy commissioner and the police chief to produce complete record related to the arrest of the activists on Feb 3 (Monday).

The counsel for the petitioners — Ammar Rashid and others — had contended before the Chief Justice that “the case has been registered against the petitioners on the basis of mala fide intention”.

He also questioned the order issued by the additional district and sessions court dismissing the post-arrest bail petitions of the detained activists, saying it was “arbitrary and not in consonance with the settled principles of law”.

Terming the district court's decision a serious miscarriage of justice, the counsel also said invoking offence of sedition against unarmed peaceful citizens was misuse of authority.

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