Expressing concern over the indictment of Federal Law Minister Babar Awan in robbery and kidnapping cases, President Zardari said the step is against democratic values.
According to Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, the president considers the move by the Punjab prosecution department as based on "ill will".
President Zardari was quoted as saying that such steps amount to victimisation of political opponents, and undermine the freedom of the judiciary. Two cases were registered against Awan 12 years ago when he was pursuing cases against President Zardari.
On Saturday, a Rawalpindi court indicted the federal law minister in both cases.
Updated from the print edition (below)
Babar Awan indicted for robbery, harassment
Federal Minister for law and Justice, Babar Awan, was indicted on Saturday by an area magistrate here for a robbery and harassment case registered against him in 1998.
The minister appeared in person before Area Magistrate Mehr Sarfaraz Hussain and rejected what he called false and politically motivated allegations.
An FIR was registered in Sadiqabad police station Rawalpindi in 1998 on the complaint of Sheikh Iftikhar Adil, the editor of a daily newspaper Asaas. The complainant had said Awan and a few armed men had tried to abduct him near Sadiqabad.
The journalist had told the police that he was tortured and given life threats after Awan failed to kidnap him. Awan is also accused of having stolen important documents belonging to Adil.
Awan had obtained bail but he failed to appear in court after the expiration of his bail. Later, the court had issued arrest warrants for the minister who then appeared before the court and obtained bail. The area magistrate has asked concerned parties to present evidence by the next date of hearing, March 12.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2011.
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