LAHORE  -  An anti-terrorism court on Monday allowed bails to several PML-N leaders and workers, including former federal minister Kamran Michael and former MNA Mehr Ishtiaq, who allegedly incited people to violence on arrival day of Nawaz Shari and Maryam Nawaz.

Appearing before the court, the PML-N leaders said they did not incite the people to violence; they just took rallies out to welcome their leader former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz at Lahore airport.

They said the FIRs registered against them were illegal and unlawful and the same were politically motivated. They neither damaged the public property nor did they incite the people to violence, they said. Holding protest, they said, was their right and they were peaceful. The petitioners asked the court to allow their bails, pleading that they were ready to join the police investigation.

At this, the court granted them bails and directed them to pay Rs 100,000 surety bonds each.  The prominent ones among those who were granted bails include former federal minster Kamran Michael, former MNA Mehr Ishtiaq, deputy mayor Mehr Mehmood, Muhammad Afzal, Basharat Ali, Malik Asif, Sharafat Ali, Mian Faisal, Muhammad Shabbir, Baqar Hussain, Mehr Imran and Muhammad Razzaq.

Lahori Gate police lodged FIRs against PML-N workers and leaders including party president Shahbaz Sharif, his sons Hamza Shahbaz over charges of inciting people to violence and causing panic in the society. The police also booked them under Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

On Saturday, police on Saturday registered terrorism cases against more than 25 leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-N including former prime minister, chief minister, and federal ministers for taking out rallies in Lahore.

Police sources said at least 12 cases were registered against more than 800 workers of PML-N at different police stations in Lahore. Over two dozen PML-N leaders including women activists are also nominated as accused persons in the FIRs.  The move comes after week-long police crackdown on political activists throughout the Punjab province. Earlier, police sent more than 140 political workers to jail for one month period under Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance.

Ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, PML-N President and former Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif, his son Hamza Shehbaz, senior politician Javed Hashmi, Sardar Ayyaz Sadiq, and Raja Zafar-ul-Haq were also booked under anti-terrorism act.

The other leaders nominated in the FIRs included Saira Afzal Tarrar, Uzma Bukhari, Maryam Orangzaib, Haji Hanif, Kamram Michal, Lahore’s Mayor Col (retired) Mubashir, Kabeer Taj, Musaddaq Malik, Bilal Yasin, Ghazali Saleem Butt, Waheed Alam Khan, Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rahman, Tallal Chaudhry, Mian Akhlaq, Malik Waheed, Munir Shah, Khawaja Salman Rafique, Talha Barki, Ahsan Sharafat, and Rana Inam Ullah.

The cases were filed under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and section 324/ 440/ 353/ 186/ 188/ 291/ 290/ 506/ 148/ 149 of the PPC, 16 MPO, and the Punjab Sound System Regulation Act 2015. The cases were registered at different police stations located in the limits of City, Cantonment, Sadar, Iqbal Town, and Civil Lines police divisions.

Many PML-N leaders on Friday took out rallies to welcome ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam hours before they landed at the Lahore airport. The PML-N had given a call to workers to come out to receive their leaders at the airport. On Friday afternoon, a large numbers of supporters gathered at Lohari Gate from where Shehbaz Sharif led the rally towards the airport.

Former PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were arrested Friday night minutes after their landing at Lahore airport. Then, they were sent to jail in Rawalpindi.

The former PM and his daughter were convicted by an accountability court in the Avenfield corruption reference and handed jail sentences. Maryam’s husband Cap (r) Safdar, who was sentenced to one year in jail in the same case for abetment, is already in Adiala Jail.

A police spokesman said that five policemen including a DSP-rank officer were injured during clashes which erupted at Joray Pull late Friday. Similarly, three policemen were injured in clashes near Suggian Bridge while seven others were wounded as police and protesters clashed near Ravi Toll Plaza. The injured police were under medical treatment at different public hospitals in Lahore.

Punjab govt clarifies

A spokesman for the Punjab government said on Monday that just 165 activists were detained under Section 3 of Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960 by the order of Deputy Commissioners in Punjab with the sole objective of prevention of any act prejudicial to public order and peace.

The detention order in respect of 143 such detainees were subsequently withdrawn by the concerned Deputy Commissioners and presently only 22 detainees are confined in Punjab Prisons.

 

Fida Hussnain