Karachi: Mumtaz Bhutto granted bail
KARACHI: Judicial Magistrate South XIV Syed Nadeem Hussain granted bail on Monday to Sindh National Front (SNF) chief Mumtaz Ali Bhutto on a surety bond of Rs50,000 in a case pertaining to an attack on the office of a Sindhi newspaper allegedly by his supporters. The petitioner’s counsel, Naeem Qureshi, submitted the bail application in the court and requested the court that his client was innocent and had committed no offence and was falsely implicated in the case. He also submitted that his client was being politically victimised even though the FIR registered in the case did not carry his name. He submitted that no independent witness has been cited in the FIR about the commission of the offence and it was a clear violation of 103 CrPC.
The public prosecutor, however, did not oppose the arguments and submitted in writing that all sections under which Bhutto was implicated were bailable and he may be released on bail. The judge asked the public prosecutor to furnish evidence in the case within 24 hours, but he refused and said that the defendant may be released on bail.
Mumtaz Ali Bhutto was arrested in his home town Naudero a day after he was booked by the Frere police Karachi in an attack, allegedly by his supporters, on a Sindhi newspaper in Clifton. The police had lodged an FIR (No. 01/2009) under sections 147, 148, 149 (rioting and damages to public and private property), 506-B (threats for death with sharp weapons) and 109 (abetment of a crime) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the managing editor of the Sindhi daily Awami Awaz.
Earlier in the day, Senior IO Rana Aslam and SI Rana Latif submitted a report in the court stating that the accused, Mumtaz Bhutto, has chest pains and had been admitted to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (NICVD) for treatment. They said that the accused was unable to walk and he must be given on a 14-day physical remand to police.
The court denied this request and said that the medical report supporting his ailment be produced in the court. The IO later left the court. Meanwhile, District and Sessions Judge (DJ) South Faheem Ahmed Sidiqui told the judicial magistrate that the remand of the accused could be considered after checking the medical report. Confusion prevailed in the court after the remarks of the DJ.
However, the petitioner’s counsel appeared in the court seeking bail of his client, following which a heated debate was witnessed between the judge and the defence counsel as the former was insisting that the bail application could be heard after 24 hours. While the defence counsel submitted that all sections under which his client was implicated were bailable except 506–B which was not covered within the prohibitory clause of section 497 (II) CrPC, and the judge was empowered to grant bail without prior notice.
After about two hours of debate, when the public prosecutor submitted that he was ready to surrender under legal grounds, the judge granted bail to the accused and adjourned the case till January 12.
No sooner the judge granted bail, than lawyers present in the court room shouted slogans of “Jeay Bhutto, Bhutto ka dushman Zardari, Zardari, Benazir ka Qatil Zardari.”