PTM leader, rights lawyer to be presented before court again on August 24

ISLAMABAD:

Former lawmaker Ali Wazir and human rights lawyer Imaan Mazari were sent on three-day physical remand on Monday by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad for participating in a protest organised by the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) last week.

As former federal minister Shireen Mazari’s daughter Imaan Mazari and former member of national assembly Ali Wazir were presented in Judge Abual Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain’s court today, the judge ordered the authorities to produce the accused on August 24 again.

Imaan Mazari’s lawyer advocate Zainab Janjua argued that despite a local court having remanded her client yesterday, “no investigation has been carried out”. She also stressed that Mazari’s phone and laptop have already by confiscated and two cases were registered over a single incident.

Notably, the two accused were remanded in police custody on Sunday, hours after their arrest from the federal capital on various charges.

According to a First Information Report (FIR) shared on social media, Wazir and Mazari were among dozens of people booked under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for being part of a Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) rally on Friday that tried to “interfere in state affairs”.

Later, during their court appearance yesterday, the prosecution showed the judge a second FIR lodged against Wazir and Mazari by Islamabad’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) containing allegations of sedition and terrorism.

During the proceedings today, Imaan’s lawyer stressed that the first FIR contained non-bailable provisions adding that Mazari was a lawyer herself and had cooperated with investigations in the past just as she will continue to do so in the future.

“Practising law has become a crime in this country,” the counsel lamented.

 

The prosecution on the other hand argued that the accused had given speeches against the state. A transcript of Mazari’s speech was also read out before the court on the occasion.

The prosecutor emphasised that a similar case had been filed against Mazari previously but the charges were dropped after she “unequivocally apologised” for her remarks earlier this year. “She has repeated the same crime again,” he argued.

He requested the court to grant the request for remand as the investigation was still ongoing and several tests such as the photogrammetry test and voice matching needed to be completed.

Mazari’s lawyer opposed the prosecution’s request arguing that as her client’s mobile and laptop devices were already in possession of the police as well as the transcript of her speech.”What do they want to achieve by keeping them in custody?” she questioned emphasising that the police had failed to proceed with their investigation despite having the accused in custody for 24 hours.

Objecting to the other case that the prosecution had brought up, Janjua said that the case had been dismissed by the Islamabad High Court.

The lawyer also lamented that Mazari was brought to court in her night suit and only on the rostrum were they informed of another FIR. “We are hopeful for a fair trial,” she said as she assured the court of full cooperation on behalf of her client.

The police maintained its request for a 10-day physical remand of Mazari. After hearing all the arguments the ATC reserved its judgment.

Meanwhile, Ali Wazir took the rostrum and told the court that the caretaker government told the PTM leadership not to hold a sit-in in front of the Supreme Court.

“We were told that we should hold a rally, but hold the rally in Tarnol so we went and held a meeting there,” he said, “As soon as the meeting was over, the interior minister tweeted, thanked us, and even called me.”

The judge expressed his disappointment over the circumstances. “it’s such a beautiful country, if this is where things are then where are we headed?” he remarked.

Later, the court approved the three-day physical remand of Iman Mazari and Ali Wazir and ordered for them to be produced before the ATC on August 24.

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