An anti-terrorism court (ATC) granted bail on Saturday to 46 supporters of Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, who were booked with him in three cases of rioting, looting, attacking police personnel, attempting to murder and spreading terrorism.
The ATC-I approved the pre-arrest bail of the co-accused against a surety of Rs100,000 each for three days, directing them to appear again on May 19 along with Mirza on his second hearing. The cases against the suspects were registered earlier this month at a Badin police station in the aftermath of a scuffle that had ensued between the police and Mirza as he allegedly ransacked Model police station in the vicinity and threatened law enforcers against arresting his men.
As many as 200 men, including his guards, lawyers and supporters, escorted Mirza, who donned a cowboy hat and a blue-and-red chequered shirt over a pair of jeans, to the courts where he stayed until the conclusion of the proceedings.
Unlike Mirza’s first hearing, this one took place inside the chamber of the ATC-I judge, Bashir Ahmed Khoso, and lasted for hours due to the large number of accused and their cases.
Muhammad Khan Burero, a special public prosecutor who represented the state, told The Express Tribune that he had opposed the bail plea of the accused contending that they were part of the ‘mini-rebellion’ against the state and had confronted law enforcers in their bid to arrest Mirza. However, he said, the judge responded by asking them to submit a police file on the next hearing.
Two special public prosecutors, Burero and Mubashir Mirza, have been appointed by the state especially for the cases against the former home minister. At the end of the hearing by 4pm, Mirza came outside the ATC, flanked by a group of his lawyers and aides. He then spoke to the media personnel who had been waiting for him since morning.
“I am not fighting for myself neither for my family,” he said. “It is the cause of Pakistan that I am taking up.” Referring to his hearing at a Badin district and sessions court, Mirza alleged that the police were tasked by the provincial government to arrest him and inject him with a dose of some lethal drug.
“They had planned to show my death as a heart attack incident,” said Mirza. “But they did not succeed as I was backed by supporters who prevented them from doing so.”
Meanwhile, Mirza could not record his statement to the Crime Branch police and left the police station without recording his statement. Crime Branch SP Shahjahan Khan told The Express Tribune that Mirza had arrived at the Crime Branch with a large number of people, due to which, the situation became tense. Therefore, he left the Crime Branch without completing and signing his statement.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2015.
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