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May 15, 2019

LHC grants bail to Khadim Rizvi, Afzal Qadri

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May 15, 2019

LHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) two-judge bench on Tuesday granted relief to Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) leaders – Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Pir Afzal Qadri – by granting them post-arrest bail in a case of public provocation and leading violent protests against acquittal of Christian woman Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case.

The bench comprising Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan and Justice Asjad Javed Ghural allowed permanent bail to TLP chief Khadim Rizvi on merit, while group’s patron-in-chief Pir Afzal Qadri was granted bail on medical grounds temporarily, till July 15. However, both were directed to furnish bail bonds of Rs500,000 each.

Regarding Khadim Rizvi, the bench observed that the petitioner was about 54 years of age and admittedly was an infirm and incapacitated person and in this respect a report from National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) was part of the file, which said the petitioner was wholly incapable of moving his half body towards middle belt to foot.

It noted that the prosecution had not challenged the medical report. While on the petition of Qadri, the bench observed that the petitioner’s counsel presented two documents/ affidavits showing repentance on his speeches. However, the judges abstained from commenting on affidavits at the stage of decision of bail matter.

The bench observed that Qadri, 68, had been suffering from heart diseases and had also undergone Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CBG) surgery and then again CRT-D implantation and now was using pace-maker. “Therefore, in the larger interest of justice, in order to provide an opportunity to the petitioner to get himself medically treated in an institute of his preference, while granting him interim relief we admit him to interim post-arrest bail till July 15, 2019 subject to furnishing bail bond in the sum of Rs500,000,” the bench said in its order adding that the bail petition shall remain pending and be fixed for hearing on July 15.

The bench directed Qadri to appear before the court on the next hearing along with entire record relating to his treatment.

Qadri, who had been booked under sedition and terrorism charges, had resigned from the TLP on May 1, citing health issues and, on the court's earlier directions, issued a public apology for his remarks.

Civil Lines police had registered an FIR under sections 290/291/353/427/186/188 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), Section 6 of Sound System Punjab Ordinance 2015 and Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 against the TLP leaders after they led violent protests against the acquittal of Christian woman Aasia Bibi.

Rizvi and Qadri were taken into "protective custody" by the state during a crackdown in November 2018 after the TLP announced it would observe martyrs’ day on Nov 25, 2018. The arrests followed weeks after the TLP led three-day protests across the country against Aasia Bibi's acquittal.

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