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LHC grants bail to journalist Imran Riaz Khan

Journalist Imran Riaz Khan will celebrate Eidul Azha with his family after the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Saturday granted him bail and directed him to appear before the judicial magistrate on the next working day.

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi passed the order after assurances from the journalist that he would not make any “controversial statement” that could cause any damage to the matter in question.

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The journalist was booked in 18 cases registered in different police stations in Punjab and Sindh under treason and other charges.

Advocate Mian Ali Ashaq and Advocate Azhar Siddique represented the journalist before the LHC while Advocate General Punjab Shehzad Shaukat appeared on behalf of the provincial government. The AGP said that the provincial government did not have any objection if he is released on bail.

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi took up the petition filed by the journalist through his counsel Advocate Mian Ali Ashfaq. Police produced Imran Riaz before the court in compliance with its order.

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Earlier, the counsel for the petitioner argued that Imran Riaz appeared before the court the next day FIRs were registered against him. Police, he said, arrested his client from Islamabad Toll plaza. He submitted that the FIRs based on which he was arrested were kept hidden from the Lahore High Court by the police.

He also argued that the present government was suppressing dissenting voices.

“We were on our way to the Islamabad High Court to get bail in 17 different cases but police arrested my client,” he informed the court, contending that police committed contempt of court as the court had sought a complete record of the cases but the Attock case was kept hidden.

Advocate Mian Ali Ashfaq argued that an army officer got an FIR registered against Emaan Mazari, which was quashed by the Islamabad High Court and if “someone” was aggrieved they could become a party to the case. The army, he argued, was not an aggrieved party and if they had any objection then they should have become a party to the case.

“Imran Riaz Khan did not give any statement against any representative of the army,” the counsel said.

At this, Justice Najafi asked Advocate Ashfaq to read Article 5 of the constitution. On it, he read articles 5 and 19 of the constitution. The court also asked him to read loudly Section 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The petitioner’s counsel said that all the cases against his client were made to “take revenge on him”.

“Do you want to increase the punishment,” asked Justice Najafi while addressing Mian Ali Ashfaq, the petitioner’s counsel.

At this, Justice Najafi remarked, “They all have to follow the law and the constitution.” The lawyer reiterated that Imran Riaz Khan did not give any statement against any representative of the army.

Justice Najafi asked the lawyer to read the text from the FIR registered with the Civil Lines Police Station of Gujranwala. On it, lawyer Mian Ali said that most of the text of all FIRs was similar to the one registered with Gujranwala’s Civil Lines Police Station.

He contended that there was no evidence of the cases so far registered against him [Imran Riaz].

Journalist Sami Ibrahim assaulted:

Meanwhile, senior journalist and anchorperson Sami Ibrahim was attacked and tortured by ‘unidentified men’ in Islamabad on Saturday.

Unidentified men surrounded Sami Ibrahim coming outside his office in Islamabad and subjected him to torture. The anchorperson sustained injuries in the attack.

He told the media that the attackers were driving a vehicle having a green-coloured number plate. However, the motive of the attack was not yet known.

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