LAHORE: Lahore High Court on Wednesday recovered a leader of a banned sectarian organisation from the custody of a law enforcement agency and ordered his release on an interim bail till July 14.
Earlier, an official of the Counter Terrorism Department told the court that Ghulam Raza Naqvi, a leader of Sipah-i-Muhammad, was taken into custody on June 29 on charges of inciting sectarian hatred. He said an FIR was later registered against the suspect.
Petitioner Abu Turab Naqvi, son of the suspect, submitted that he and his father were taken into custody minutes after the latter’s release from a prison where he had been detained for over three months under Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance. He said some men who had identified themselves as officials of a law enforcement agency took them to an undisclosed location. He was released later, he added.
The petitioner further stated that his father’s detention under Section 16 of the MPO had started on February 29, about three months after his release on court orders on completion of a life and three 10 year prison terms in November 2014.
“A police party raided our house and took him into custody,” Turab Naqvi said.
He said the law enforcement agencies kept his father in detention for over three months.
Under the law, he said, they were required to produce him before a review board comprising LHC judges after three months of detention to seek an extension in the detention term. He said a petition he had filed in the LHC against his father’s detention for over three months was still pending a hearing.
The petitioner said that in 1994 his father had been sentenced to death for the murder of Haji Imtiaz and Shahid Javed; and three 10-year prison terms for a murder attempt on Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan leader Azam Tariq, damaging a vehicle and possessing explosive substances, respectively. He said all four sentences had started concurrently under Section 382-B of the Criminal Procedures Code. On October 21, 2014, an LHC division bench had reduced his death sentence to a life sentence.
He said his father had been released from the prison on October 27, 2014, but detained again by some officials of a law enforcement agency. He said the detention had been declared illegal and authorities asked to release him on November 6, 2014.
Sipah-i-Muhammad Pakistan had been declared a terrorist organisation and banned on August 14, 2001, under then President General (r) Pervez Musharraf.
The group had been founded by Maulana Mureed Abbas Yazdani as a political party in early 1990s. Several leaders of the group had been accused of killing SSP leader Haq Nawaz Jhangvi and others.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015.