The Islamabad High Court granted 23 PTM protesters bail on Monday.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the bail please of a number of PTM supporters who were arrested for staging a protest in Islamabad against PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen’s arrest.
The protesters were charged under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (assault on public servant), 147 (rioting), 149 (being member of unlawful assembly), 505-A (defaming Army), 505-B (public mischief), 124-A (sedition), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 186 (obstructing public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Justice Minallah also ordered their release.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqat and IG Aamir Zulfiqar Khan were summoned to the hearing, but the IG was on leave so he was represented by the Islamabad DIG instead.
The court said such behaviour was not expected of the deputy commissioner and incumbent government. “Have you read the FIR? On what basis were terrorism charges added?” asked Justice Minallah.
Have you read the Supreme Court verdict in which it defined terrorism, he asked.
The court then addressed the DIG and said he is a representative of the State and its job is to safeguard the people. How can you doubt the patriotism of an individual, the court asked.
Do you think the constitutional courts will close their eyes to this, asked Justice Minallah. He directed Shafqat and the IG to sit together and look into the matter.
“The respondents have acknowledged that in the facts and circumstances of the case in hand the offence under Section 124-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 is not attracted and, therefore, it has been accordingly deleted,” read the court order.
They have until the upcoming hearing next week to submit a report.