KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) also allowed former home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza to go abroad for his wife's treatment, following a similar decision by the sessions court.
The ATC decision came Thursday afternoon when ATC-I judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso called the prosecution and defence sides in his chamber to pronounce the verdict, which was reserved earlier.
"Mirza has been given a three-week extension in his bail commencing from June 15," defence counsel Javed Mir told the media as he came out of the judge's chamber. "He will go to the US as his wife needs to go see a doctor there and he is the only one to take care of her," he explained.
"There is only one case left in which the same order is awaited," he said referring to the case submitted to the ATC-III, which is hearing Darakhshan police station's case against Mirza.
The estranged leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party had moved an application to the court stating that his wife was suffering from a chronic disease and it was necessary for her to get medical treatment from abroad as soon as possible because the health facilities in Pakistan were not equipped to treat her.
The three-page plea also contained a recommendation certificate from the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, which has the signature of its founder, Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi.
During the hearing, the principal counsel for the accused, Ashraf Samoo, argued before the judge that his client wanted to go along with his wife and he had been allowed by other courts including of District South's top judge, Ahmed Saba. "The court may also allow him [Mirza] the same so that it would be easier for him to perform his duty," Samoo pleaded before the ATC-I judge.
On the other hand, special public prosecutor Muhammad Khan Burero, who is handling Mirza's cases on behalf of the state, vehemently opposed the permission granted to Mirza to leave the country. "He will never come back if allowed," claimed Burero, adding that the accused was facing serious charges of terrorism, inciting violence and creating a mini-rebellion.
The hearing lasted for nearly a quarter-of-an-hour, after which the judge went into his chamber and reserved the verdict. As they waited for the order, both the defence and prosecution sides, who normally appear to be each other's arch enemies, sat together and shared jokes. At one time, defence attorney, Mir, was seen asking prosecutor, Burero, for a cup of tea.
As the order was pronounced, the prosecution side appeared unhappy with it. Burero said that it was an unprecedented move that an accused, whose bail has yet to be confirmed and who has not joined investigation deliberately, is given such a favour. "There is no provision in the law that allows Mirza to go abroad at this stage," he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2015.
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