Two senior members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) Rabita Committee obtained on Wednesday protective bail before arrest in seven criminal cases lodged against them for arranging and listening to Altaf Hussain's speech against the military.
Headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, a division bench approved the protective bail of MPA Abdul Rauf Siddiqui in six cases against a surety of Rs20,000 for each of the six FIRs against him. MNA Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui was granted bail for 10 days in sum of Rs50,000.
The two MQM leaders had approached the high court to seek protection against their possible arrest in connection with seven criminal cases registered against the Rabita Committee members at different police stations of Karachi following Hussain's alleged speech against the military.
Lawyer Gulfaraz Khan Khattak told the judges that the court had granted his client, Abdul Rauf Siddiqui, protective pre-arrest bail on July 15 in sum of Rs50,000 in connection with FIR No. 193/2015 registered against him under sections 120-A and B, 121, 122, 123-A and 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with the sections 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the Sukkun police station in Karachi.
He said his client was directed to surrender before the trial court within 10 days. Before he could surrender, he claimed, another six FIRs under the same charges have also been lodged against him at different police stations in Karachi. These FIRs, 84, 85, 54, 55, 352, 219, have been lodged under sections 120-A and B, 121, 122, 123-A and 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with sections 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at Gadap City, Malir Cantonment, Super Highway and Quaidabad police stations.
Khattak argued that since the offences in all sections are the same, therefore, numerous FIRs cannot be lodged for the same offence. He pleaded the court direct the home secretary, the Sindh IG and others to submit a complete list of FIRs against the petitioner. It was requested to grant protective bail to Siddiqui in all the six FIRs.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2015.
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