MQM leader granted protective bail for 10 days

Party chief, other leaders implicated in dozens of FIRs across the country

Our Correspondent July 16, 2015

KARACHI: Abdul Rauf Siddiqui, a member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Rabita Committee, who was booked in dozens of criminal cases over the party chief’s alleged inflammatory remarks, obtained protective bail before arrest on Thursday.

A division bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC), headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, granted him bail for 10 days against a surety of Rs50,000.

The MQM leader had approached the high court seeking protective bail to avoid arrest in a case registered on the charges of conspiring and collecting arms to wage war against the state, condemning the creation of the state and inciting terror.

Over the past few days, dozens of FIRs have been registered across Pakistan against Altaf Hussain, who lives in self-exile in London, and some senior local leaders of his party over his alleged inflammatory remarks.

Advocate Shaukat Hayat told the court his client, Rauf Siddiqui, has been booked in FIR No. 193/2015 registered under the Sections 120-A and B, 121, 122, 123-A and 109, read with the Sections 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, together with Section 25 of the Telegraph Act at the Sukkun police station, Karachi. The court was informed that the FIR has been registered by Muhammad Bux, a resident of Landhi, on July 12.

The complainant alleged that he was watching television on July 12 when he came to know that the MQM Quaid Altaf Hussain was addressing a function organised by the Rabita Committee on telephone during which he criticised the government, the lawyer explained.

He said the applicant had no role in the commission of the alleged offence, but the police had booked him and other members in the FIR, which was illegal. He apprehended that the petitioner could be arrested any time.

The lawyer pleaded to the court to grant protective bail to the applicant to enable him to surrender before the police or the trial court to join the investigation.

The two-judges observed that the applicant had filed an application for bail before arrest, but his lawyer had requested to convert the same into protective bail.

“Office objection is overruled,” ruled the bench members, as they proceeded with the bail plea. The judges granted protective pre-arrest bail to Rauf Siddiqui against a surety of Rs 50,000.

Though Siddiqui and other MQM leaders have been implicated in several FIRs, this is the only FIR against which he has sought bail.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2015.