SHC grants protective bail to Farooq Sattar in 31 ‘hate speech’ cases

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SHC grants protective bail to Farooq Sattar in 31 ‘hate speech’ cases

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan chief Dr Farooq Sattar on Monday obtained protective bail from the Sindh High Court in as many as 31 cases pertaining to facilitating and listening to the alleged hate speeches of party founder Altaf Hussain.

Dr Sattar and MQM’s deputy convener Amir Khan approached the SHC for protective bail to avoid their possible arrest in the cases, as the Antiterrorism Court-II had on May 16 asked the director general of the Sindh Rangers to arrest and produce them in court in two cases pertaining to sedition, anti-state offences and attack on media houses following the Aug 22, 2016 incendiary speech of Mr Hussain.

The ATC-II judge had sent a letter to the Rangers’ DG, Maj Gen Mohammad Saeed, along with non-bailable warrants for the arrest of the two leaders, directing him to arrest and produce them in court on May 31 without fail. The court had observed that despite several directives police were unable to arrest the two MQM-P leaders.

Dr Sattar and Mr Khan, represented by barrister Farogh Nasim, filed the applications pleading the court to grant them protective bail as several cases had been registered against them for allegedly listening to and arranging hate speeches of the MQM founder.

Dr Sattar has been given one month for bail confirmation

Headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar, a two-judge bench approved their plea granting Dr Sattar one-month protective bail against a surety amount of Rs50,000 each in all 31 cases.

The same bench approved 10-day protective bail for Mr Khan in four cases against surety of Rs50,000 each.

The court directed the two leaders to approach the trial court for further legal remedy.

Talking to media outside the SHC, barrister Naseem said that the government should punish those involved in anti-state activities, “but should also work to strengthen the elements that are loyal to the state.”

The MQM leaders are facing charges in connection with cases pertaining to the Aug 22 speech of Mr Hussain, which triggered a violent protest, arson attacks and ransacking of media houses.

Dr Sattar was nominated in as many as 31 cases whereas Mr Khan was booked in four identical cases relating to hate speeches of their ex-chief, who had criticised the military establishment numerous times after the initiation of 2013’s Karachi operation.

Both the leaders were also booked in two case registered at the Artillery Maidan police station in connection with the Aug 22 speech.

The MQM founder had criticised the national security agencies and on his provocation, some workers also raised anti-Pakistan slogans outside the Karachi Press Club, where the party had staged a hunger strike for recovery of its “missing” activists on Aug 22. The suspects had also attacked private news channels and rioted near Fawwara Chowk that led to the death of at least one person and injuries to others.

Dr Sattar was taken into police custody in March, and senior police officials had confirmed his “arrest”. However, he was “freed” in less than two hours — reportedly on the intervention of a top provincial authority.

Later, a spokesman for the Sindh chief minister said he had “escaped” when a police team went to arrest him.

The ATC had repeatedly been issuing warrants for the arrest of the MQM leaders since October last. However, the police on almost every hearing told the trial court that the leaders went into hiding and warrants could not be executed. However, the court rejected the police reports and came down hard on police officials, telling them that the absconders were easily accessible to media and appearing on TV channels almost on a daily basis.

While directing the Rangers’ chief to arrest and produce the two MQM-P leaders, the ATC-II had also observed that despite several directives police were unable to arrest Dr Sattar and Amir Khan.

Declaring it a most urgent matter, the judge asked the Rangers’ chief to keep it as his top priority.

In February, the court had also directed the authorities concerned to place the names of Dr Sattar and two other party leaders on the Exit Control List.

The MQM founder has already been declared a proclaimed offender and the court also directed the interior ministry to approach Interpol for the issuance of a red warrant against him.

Mayor asks court to devolve SSWMB

The Karachi mayor on Monday moved the Sindh High Court requesting it to devolve the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) from the provincial government to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation.

A constitutional petition filed by the MQM-P through its leader and Mayor Wasim Akhtar, stated that the SSWMB was established under the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board Act, 2014 with functions to cater to the needs of the people.

The mayor said that since then the board was being run by the Sindh government.

He also referred to a Supreme Court order that “this non-functional board [SSWMB] has never performed and should be dissolved to local bodies as provided under the rules of business”.

The petitioner maintained that despite the directives of the apex court, steps were not taken to transfer the function of the board to elected local representatives.

He asked the court to direct the authorities concerned to transfer all the assets falling under the umbrella of the Solid Waste Management Board Act, 2014 to the local government institutions.

Mayor Akhtar further requested the court to direct the respondents to give complete details of all the funds, which they had received for the purpose of solid waste management and how the same were expended, praying to the court to appoint a reputable auditor to ascertain the facts.


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