KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Friday granted bail to two leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – London in a case pertaining to an alleged hate speech of their party founder.
Elderly retired professor Dr Hasan Zafar Arif, Amjadullah Khan and other leaders of the party, either absconding or already on bail, have been booked for allegedly facilitating and listening to a controversial speech of Altaf Hussain, in which he reportedly criticised the military establishment and asked his workers to extort money from traders.
The ATC-I judge granted the bail after listening to arguments from the prosecution and the defence, against a surety of Rs100,000 for each of them. The surety, however, was not submitted on Friday.
Meanwhile, the court also confirmed pre-arrest bail of another MQM-London leader, Sathi Ishaq, and two MQM-Pakistan leaders Qamar Mansoor and Mehfooz Yar Khan while the MQM founder, MQM-Pakistan chief Dr Farooq Sattar and some others are absconders in the case.
Zafar Arif and Amjadullah were arrested in the present case on December 20, shortly after they were released from prison after two months of detention under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance.
Initially, they were picked up on October 22 from outside the Karachi Press Club when they were there to address a press conference about the restructuring of MQM-London post the August 22 split.
The case was registered under Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulating its religion or religious beliefs), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt), 500 (punishment for defamation), 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, read with Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, at the Azizabad police station.
According to MQM-London spokesperson, Wasay Jalil, the release is expected on Monday.
Arif is a veteran leftist and former chairperson of KU’s philosophy department. Last year, he joined Karachi-based MQM and became a member of its pro-Altaf faction’s coordination committee member.