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Wednesday July 17, 2024

Karachi court discharges Imran’s nephew from sedition case

By Yousuf Katpar
March 30, 2023

A Karachi court on Wednesday discharged Advocate Hassaan Khan Niazi, nephew of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, in a case pertaining to inciting the public against security institutions.

Niazi had been shifted to the city on Tuesday afternoon after an anti-terrorism court in Lahore granted his two-day transit remand to the Sindh police in a case lodged at the Jamshed Quarters police station.

The investigating officer produced the lawyer before Judicial Magistrate (East) Sibghatullah requesting that his physical remand be granted for interrogation. After hearing the arguments from the defence and prosecution sides, the magistrate said the police apparently lodged the case under sedition charges on the complaint of a private person without fulfilling the legal procedure required under Section 196 (Prosecution for offences against the State) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Moreover, he added, the FIR was lodged on March 26 but the SSP Investigation-I (East) sought permission from the home department in this regard on March 28. “In the above matter, prior to the registration of the FIR, no complaint was registered by the officer who was authorised/empowered by the government, which is a sheer violation of the law.”

He discharged Niazi under Section 63 of the CrPC, subject to furnishing surety of Rs50,000. The IO was told to submit a final charge sheet in the case in accordance with the law.

Niazi’s lawyers, including Zahoor Mahsud, Aamir Mansoob Qureshi and Riaz Affendi, contended that the PTI leader was implicated in a politically motivated case, which was lodged without a complaint by an authorised government officer, as required under Section 196, and requested the court to discharge him from the case.

Senior party leaders, including Ali Haider Zaidi and Haleem Adil Sheikh, as well as a large number of members of the Insaf Lawyers Forum reached the court to show solidarity with the detained party leader.

The FIR had been lodged on the complaint of Mohammad Iqbal under sections 121 (Waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan), 124-A (Sedition), 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups, etc.), 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Iqbal said in the FIR that he was going through social media on his mobile phone at home on March 26 when he saw a person giving an interview to various WhatsApp groups and TikTok warning that if Imran Khan was arrested, no respect would be shown to any “Haji or Hafiz”; there would be a civil war in the country.

He said the person, whose name was Hassaan Niazi, incited the people and threatened the former and current heads of the security institution by using code words.