Terror charges added to FIR against Maryam, Safdar

ATC grants interim bail to PML-N leader’s husband in NAB attack case


Rana Yasif September 04, 2020
LAHORE:

Police on Friday included an anti-terrorism law clause in the FIR against PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, her husband Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar and 14 other party members for the recent attack on the Lahore office of the country’s top anti-graft body.

Safdar was later granted interim bail by an anti-terrorism court September 11. The PML-N leader maintained in his bail application that the police had registered a false and baseless case against him on political grounds.

The court issued directions to the police to provide it with the record of the cases against Safdar.

Earlier, Safdar appeared before a session court for an interim bail where an investigating officer from the Chung police station submitted a report stating that Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 had been added to the FIR against Maryam, Safdar and other party members.

The prosecutor contended that the bail application no longer fell under the jurisdiction of the sessions court after the inclusion of the anti-terrorism clause in the FIR.

Safdar’s lawyers told the court that police had attacked Maryam’s car outside the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Complex at Thokar Niaz Baig and registered a baseless case on the charges of rioting.

Additional Sessions Judge Shakeel Ahmed dismissed the plea noting that after the insertion of Section 7, the court had no jurisdiction to grant bail.

“The petitioner has claimed the case is malafide as the investigating officer had added terror clauses without collecting evidence,” the court order read.

"It is also argued that CCTV footage and other material collected by the IO suggest the accused, after due deliberation, attacked the NAB office,” it added.

"After addition of the offence, which are triable exclusively by special court constituted under the Anti-Terrorism Act, this court cannot confirm the pre-arrest bail granted to the petitioner.”

Taking to Twitter, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, who is Maryam’s uncle, condemned the incorporation of the anti-terrorism law clause in the FIR.

“[This] shows how coward and insecure Niazi government is. PTI is brazenly promoting the politics of vendetta and revenge,” he added.

Police had booked Maryam, her husband and several others for attacking the NAB office in Lahore and torturing its officials and police guards on August 11.

NAB was unable to record the statement of Maryam in an illegal land requisition case as her party workers ran berserk and clashed with riot police in an attempt to force their way into the office of the national graft buster in Lahore.

News channels showed chaotic scenes outside the NAB Complex as Maryam, daughter of former premier Nawaz Sharif, drove in accompanied by hundreds of PML-N activists and supporters in vehicles and on foot.

The situation turned ugly when some activists in the PML-N caravan pelted stones at police, who responded by using batons, water cannons and tear gas on the rioters.

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