KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi on Saturday granted an interim bail to former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza who finally appeared before the court after the end of the ‘police siege’ around his Badin residence.
The ATC-I approved Mirza’s bail till May 19 against a sum of Rs300,000 — Rs100,000 for each of the three cases against him. The former minister was booked under charges of rioting and looting, attempted murder and terrorism last Sunday after he allegedly ransacked a police station and forced markets in Badin to shut down.
Mirza initially resisted arrest. After he refused to show up in the court, the Sindh High Court extended his bail till May 9.
On Friday, the SHC ordered police to refrain from arresting Mirza and to remove deployments around his farmhouse so that he could appear before the court.
Mirza arrived in the court on Saturday amid strict security. At least 300 police personnel were reportedly deployed around the vicinity of the court.
The hearing of his cases took place in an open court before ATC-I Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso. The proceedings opened with arguments of Mirza’s counsel, Ashraf Samoo, who contended that the cases against his client were politically motivated.
Muhammad Khan Burero, who represented the state along with Mubashir Mirza, argued that the accused had challenged the writ of the government, instigated a mini-rebellion, threatened law enforcers and ransacked a police station.
However, the judge gave an order in favour of Mirza and directed the prosecution to submit a police file on the next hearing.
Speaking to media outside the courts, Mirza said that his confidence in the judiciary had strengthened. “Today, the people of Pakistan won,” he said. “I fight against the corrupt system and will continue to do so.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2015.
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