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Pakistan human rights lawyer re-arrested in terrorism case, hours after getting bail in sedition case

Imaan, the daughter of former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, and Wazir were arrested on August 20 by Islamabad police.
Last Updated : 28 August 2023, 13:04 IST
Last Updated : 28 August 2023, 13:04 IST

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Pakistan police re-arrested human rights lawyer Imaan Mazari outside the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on Monday, hours after an Islamabad anti-terrorism court granted her bail in a sedition case.

Confirming the arrest on X, formerly Twitter, the Islamabad police said Imaan was arrested in a terrorism case registered at the Bara Kahu police station.

The arrest comes hours after the Islamabad anti-terrorism court (ATC) granted Imaan and former lawmaker Ali Wazir post-arrest bail against surety bonds of Rs 30,000 each.

Imaan, the daughter of former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, and Wazir were arrested on August 20 by Islamabad police, two days after they participated in a protest organised by the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), which advocates the rights of ethnic Pashtuns.

Imaan addressed in Islamabad a rally of the PTM, a group of ethnic Pushtu-speaking activists highly critical of the Pakistan Army, and criticised the powerful military establishment.

According to the first information report (FIR) filed against Imaan and Wazir, the two were arrested for staging a sit-in, resistance and interference in state affairs.

The authorities wanted both of them as part of an ongoing investigation. It alleged that the two were involved in unlawful gathering, resistance and 'interference in state affairs'.

On August 21, the ATC sent Imaan and Wazir to a three-day police remand in the sedition case.

On August 24, the court rejected the prosecution’s request to extend Imaan and Wazir’s physical remand in the case and sent the two to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on judicial remand.

During the proceedings of the case on Monday, ATC Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain granted bail to Imaan and Wazir against surety bonds of Rs 30,000 each.

The FIR filed against Wazir and Imaan stated that 700 to 800 people participated in the sit-in and several were armed with sticks and some even with weapons as they attempted to defy the authorities and march on the capital, according to a report in The Express Tribune newspaper.

The report claimed the main highway, GT Road, was blocked by the protestors who proceeded to hold a rally in the middle of the road.

It said that when the security personnel tried to stop the participants, they attacked a government vehicle, engaged in altercations with the authorities and even managed to forcefully take an anti-riot kit away from an officer.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned Imaan's arrest and demanded her immediate and unconditional release. It termed the Islamabad Police's act as 'unacceptable'.

Pakistani authorities in recent months have cracked down against dissent. Former prime minister Imran Khan is also serving a three-year jail term after he was sentenced by a court in a corruption case earlier this month.

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Published 28 August 2023, 13:04 IST

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