The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Friday confirmed pre-arrest bail for MNA Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and his nephew Haroon Bilour, earlier accused of vandalising a women polling station during the August 22 by-elections in NA-1.
PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan granted bail to both Awami National Party (ANP) leaders after their counsel Advocate Ishtiaq Ibrahim informed the court Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) had been declared null and void. He added bail can be granted for the rest of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) sections the Bilours were charged under.
Ishtiaq Ibrahim also informed the court the police had registered reports against his clients under sections 337, 506, 186, 147, 148, and 171-f, but claimed Ghulam Bilour was present at his residence during the election process. All the sections included in the report were put on the basis of political influence, he argued.
The respondents’ lawyer, on the other hand, told the court the accused had brought weapons to the polling station and had also beaten Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf activists including Ali Wahab and Sohail Haider. He added video footage was also aired by some TV channels during their election coverage.
Justice Khan in his remarks said while the government used all its resources to ensure peaceful polling, such incidents during elections are a common occurrence. After hearing both arguments, he granted pre-arrest bail to the Bilours and directed the police not to take any action till the lower court passes a judgement.
On August 27, a single-member bench of the PHC comprising Justice Shah Jehan Akhunzada granted interim bail to the accused while on October 3, the court quashed Section 7 of the ATA.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2013.