A District South judicial magistrate on Thursday acquitted of Dr Arif Alvi and three other Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders of charges of ransacking the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) office and creating a law and order situation during a water protest last year.
On April 8, 2017, the Darakhshan police had registered an FIR against four PTI leaders -- MNA Dr Arif Alvi and Sindh Assembly members Samar Ali Khan, Dr Seema Zia and Khurram Sherzaman -- for leading a protest demonstration at the CBC office over the locality’s persisting water supply issues.
Three CBC elected members, Mohammed Aslam Khaliq, Mohammed Ahmad and Adeeba Hassan, were also booked. A CBC official had formally submitted a complaint against them for “deliberately breaking the glass door of the [CBC] office and stormed into the building” when they gathered at the board’s office with residents of the locality.
The complaint stated: “It is submitted that the office of the Cantonment Board Clifton is a public office and remains open for the general public during the office hours on working days. Against the decision of the board regarding water bowers service charges a protest under the leadership of PTI was held on April 6 and 7 last year outside the CBC.
“To keep the premises, the office building and record safe, the main gates and doors were closed from inside to avoid any untoward incident in case the protesters turn violent.” However, later the CBC did not support its plea and instead issued a statement in favour of the PTI leaders.
On Thursday, as the case came up before the judicial magistrate, defence attorney Riaz Afandi argued that nothing had been proved against the defendants and it was obvious that they were implicated in a false case.
Besides, he said, the CBC itself had issued a statement supporting the plea of the leaders, who had already resolved the issue of water for which they had gathered. The counsel further said that most of the accused were elected representatives, and the prosecution had failed to produce any witness against them.
After examining the case facts, the court ordered acquitting all the accused from ransacking and other charges. Dr Alvi and other leaders of the PTI were already on bail. They were indicted on August 28 last year. However, since they had pleaded not guilty, the court decided to hear the account of witnesses.
Solangi sent to jail
The administrative judge of accountability courts rejected the plea of the investigation officer (IO) against Ramzan Solangi and Qamar Javed to extend the period of physical remand, and sent the two accused of corruption to prison on judicial remand till June 7.
Ramzan Solangi, personal secretary to the local government secretary, and local government officer Qamar Javed are alleged to have committed corruption and caused great losses to the national exchequer.
The two were arrested last month and handed over to the investigators for interrogation. The case was filed by the National Accountability Bureau that accused them of commission of corruption by collecting huge sums from employees in bribery on a monthly basis.
On May 11, the Sindh High Court had granted interim pre-arrest bail to Local Government Secretary Mohammad Ramzan Awan in an inquiry pertaining to a corruption scam in District Municipal Corporation West, Karachi.
Awan approached the court for interim protective bail against action by the National Accountability Bureau in a corruption and illegal appointments case. He submitted that NAB had initiated an inquiry against a former administrator of the DMC West and the establishment director with regard to a corruption scam and receiving bribes of Rs18.91 million.
The nominated accused alleged that they used to send a share of the bribe money to the LG secretary through his personal secretary, Ramzan Solangi. Awan further said that he was falsely implicated in the case because being a member of the judicial commission appointed by the Supreme Court to probe Sindh’s civic issues he was taking action against the water mafia in the city.
His counsel said that despite the high court’s restraining order, NAB has issued a call up notice to Awan asked the court to grant him protective pre-arrest bail. The SHC then issued notices to NAB and others for June 18 and in the meantime granted interim protective bail to the petitioner.
In a previous hearing, the court had also directed the local government secretary to join the NAB inquiry as and when he was required by the NAB and ordered to place his name in Exit Control List.