KARACHI: A sessions court granted on Thursday bail to incarcerated Karachi University (KU) professor Dr Riaz Ahmed, ordering him to submit a surety of Rs50,000.
District South Additional Sessions Judge Rajesh Chandar Rajput had reserved the decision on Wednesday after listening to arguments from the defence and prosecution.
Dr Ahmed, an Associate Professor at the Applied Chemistry Department at KU, is booked in an illicit weapon case. According to the prosecution, he was arrested by the Rangers on April 1 after an unlicensed pistol was allegedly recovered during a search of his car. The defence’s counsel, Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed, had argued that his client was implicated in a false case with malafide intentions by the authorities who wanted to victimise him for his struggle for the release of his elderly teacher, Dr Hasan Zafar Arif, who is also a leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – London.
When Dr Ahmed was arrested, he was heading to hold a press conference demanding the release of Dr Arif, who is jailed in a number of cases pertaining to the ‘incendiary and hateful’ speeches of MQM founder Altaf Hussain.
Two more people – Dr Mehar Afroze Murad, a retired KU faculty member, and Naghma Iqtidar, a Democratic Students Federation activist, were also taken into custody that day. However, they were released after a brief detention.
On the other hand, the special public prosecutor representing the paramilitary force, Sajid Mehboob Shaikh, had opposed the bail plea and argued that besides the present case, the applicant, as per the data obtained from his mobile phone, was also allegedly promoting and supporting bloggers accused of committing blasphemy.
The case was registered against Dr Ahmed under Section 23 (i) A of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 on the complaint of a Rangers inspector at the Artillery Maidan police station.
Meanwhile, the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) observed a black day on Thursday at the varsity, demanding the immediate release of their colleague. The KU teachers’ fraternity attended the hearings in large numbers.
KUTS members recorded their protest by boycotting classes after 11am and wearing black armbands.
Teachers under the guidance of KUTS President Dr Shakeel Farooqi did not conduct classes and many students were informed of this via social media on Wednesday night.