Karachi: 2 get interim bail in artefacts smuggling case
KARACHI: While a sessions court on Tuesday granted pre–arrest interim bail to two men said to be involved in the artefacts smuggling case, the city police took into custody a brother of one of the two suspects. Additional District and Sessions Judge Hafiza Usman, who is the judge in charge of the district and sessions court (east), granted pre–arrest interim bail to the two suspects — Atif and Asif — against a surety bond of Rs50,000 each till July 16. The court directed the suspects to ensure their presence in court on the next hearing.
As the police cannot arrest the two suspects till July 16, they took into custody Tahir Butt, a brother of suspect Asif Butt, in Gulshan-i-Iqbal later in the day.
Sub–Divisional Police Officer Majeed Abbas confirmed that Tahir was picked up in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on the information provided by the arrested driver and cleaner of the trailer carrying Gandhara civilisation artefacts and relics.
DIG-East Shahid Hayat said that the next hearing on the bail applications of the main suspects would take place on July 16.
“We hope that the court will reject the bail. Once police are able to obtain the remand of the main suspect further details about the background of the seized artefacts can become clear,” the DIG added.
Though the held brother was not nominated in the FIR, another senior police officer told Dawn that the brother of the main suspect was picked up to put pressure on the suspect to surrender himself before the police.
On July 6, the police had arrested driver Zafar and cleaner Asif Majeed of a container-mounted trailer within the remit of the Awami Colony police station for allegedly transporting a large number of Gandhara civilisation artefacts and relics to Sialkot.
Later, they also recovered more artefacts in a warehouse in Korangi.
On July 7, a magistrate remanded the suspects in police custody till July 11 while Atif and Asif were shown absconders in the remand papers.
A case was registered against the suspects under Sections 26, 27, 29, 32 and 34 of the Antiquities Act at the Awami Colony police station.