Attesting refugee documentation: Former MPA, three others released in Swabi

Lawyers go on strike over arrest to put pressure on courts

Muhammad Shoaib July 16, 2015
Lawyers go on strike over arrest to put pressure on courts. PHOTO: FILE

SWABI: A special court on Thursday ordered the release of a former MPA and three former union council nazims who were arrested a day earlier for attesting national identification documents for Afghan nationals.

The decision was taken on the directives of district and sessions judge Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan in view of the strong reaction elicited by the legal community over the arrests. The lawyers went on strike on Thursday.

The district and sessions judge decided to constitute a special court comprising two judicial magistrates to hold a brief hearing the case. During the proceedings, judicial magistrate Lahor Mohammad Ghayas Khan and magistrate Ajmal Tahir accepted bail applications against former JUI-F MPA Abdul Majid Khan and former nazims Sher Aman Khan, Hazrat Ali and Sanaullah.

Legal wrangling

All four men were charged for attesting documents of Afghan nationals which had then been submitted with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). Cases had been registered against them in 2007 and but were expedited soon after the declaration of the National Action Plan after the Army Public School massacre in December 2014.

All four men appeared before a court of law on Wednesday and were arrested after judicial magistrate Iftikhar Shah rejected their applications for bail before arrest. They were shifted to Swabi jail.

However, the legal community voiced reservation over the rejection of their plea. They submitted a bail application for the four men. Subsequently, they went on strike on Thursday and refused to perform their duties at judicial courts.

Up in arms

According to the lawyers who went on strike, Shah had rejected these applications without any sound justification.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Tanveer Shehzad, a senior lawyer from Lahor, said the judicial magistrate person is known to take decisions in a largely political manner. “The charges against the four men are civil and not criminal in nature,” he said. “I strongly request the chief justice of the Peshawar High Court to take notice of this matter.”

Case files

Abdul Majid is a resident of Tordher, Swabi. He was previously associated with Awami National Party and was twice elected as an MPA on the party ticket. In the 1990s, he joined JUI-F and was later elected as an MPA on a Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal ticket during the 2002 general elections.

Sher Aman has previously served as nazim of Lahor union council while Hazrat Ali and Sanaullah were nazims of Tordher and Jehangira, respectively. Last month, countless FIRs were registered against officials who attested documents of Afghan refugees and helped them obtain CNICs. These cases were registered after NADRA shared names of government servants, politicians and former nazims who had attested the documents with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police.

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