Pakistan: Top Court judge slams targeting political workers instead of terrorists


The Supreme Court on Wednesda granted bail to five suspects involved in May 9 violence and stated that the authorities concerned were not arresting the “real terrorists” but are after those who take out political rallies.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail made these remarks during hearing of bail petitions of suspects allegedly involved in vandalising and attacking the state property on May 9.

A number of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers and others were arrested after protests broke out across the country following Imran Khan’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Mandokhail, and comprising Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Mussarat Hilali conducted the hearing of the plea seeking post-arrest bail. The apex court approved the bail in exchange for surety bonds of Rs50,000 each. It also directed the trial court to give a verdict without getting influenced.

The petitioners, Owais, Saifullah, Nasrullah, Kamran and Waqas, were accused of attacks and vandalising between May 9 and 10. During the proceedings, Justice Mandokhail highlighted the lapses in investigations and spoke about the provisions of terrorism in the first information report.

“Do you know in what circumstances the anti-terrorism clauses are invoked?” he questioned. He then gave examples of terror incidents, saying that the Army Public School tragedy and attack on lawyers in Quetta can be categorised as such.

“Fight your political game in the political arena, don’t fight political battles in the courts,” he said. Justice Mandokhail added that when a weapon is not recovered, then the relevant provision cannot be added in the FIR.

Justice Rizvi then said that all the witnesses were police officers. “The witnesses can also be policemen, but the evidence should be shared,” said Justice Hilali.

At this point, Justice Rizvi said the accused were also charged for firing, however, no weapon was recovered and no policemen were injured. To this, Justice Mandokhail said that the investigating officer was making up stories.

He then added that the authorities concerned aren’t catching the “real terrorists” but are after those who took out a political rally. At this, the investigation officer said that the accused attacked the sensitive institutions after the arrest of their leader.

Punjab government’s counsel claimed that molotov cocktails were recovered from their possession and they also resorted to firing. “A head constable of Special Branch Lahore is also a witness,” he added.

“Should the former prime minister be considered a traitor on the statement of a head constable?” questioned Justice Mandokhail. Justice Rizvi then said that there was no evidence except the testimonies of policemen.

Justice Hilali highlighted that there is no mention of the attack on the ISI office in the FIR. At this point, Justice Rizvi asked about the evidence against the accused and if they were identified from CCTV cameras. To this, the IO said that the CCTV cameras were damaged by the protestors.

“This means there is no evidence against the accused but only police statements,” said Justice Mandokhail. He questioned how did taking out rallies become terrorism.__Daily Times