Supreme Court issues notice to Rizvi on Punjab govt's petition seeking bail rejection

LAHORE  : The Supreme Court issued a notice to Khadim Rizvi after the Punjab government challenged the Lahore High Court (LHC) decision granting bail to Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan chief in the apex court’s Lahore registry.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik and Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed heard the petition.

In response to a question by the bench about Rizvi’s crime, Additional Prosecutor General Mazhar Sher Awan said that the accused had delivered “anti-judiciary speeches and provoked the masses”.

The bench, further inquiring the demerits of LHC’s decision of granting him bail, expressed displeasure over Awan’s inability to assist the court appropriately.

“You are unaware of the merits of the case, tell us who drafted it?” asked Judge Malik. He further asked as to “how many individuals’ bail did the provincial government wanted to be revoked?”

The additional prosecutor general apprised the bench that the Punjab government had sought annulment of bail granted to Rizvi and Ata Muhammad. The court, on the occasion, pointed out that Awan had been referring to the complainant as a suspect.

“You are calling Ata Muhammad, the complainant, a suspect,” the judge asked, adding if Awan had “studied the file of the case”.

The apex court’s Lahore registry bench issued a notice to Rizvi over the Punjab government’s appeal.

On July 16, the Punjab government challenged the May 14 LHC decision, which granted bail to TLP chief Rizvi in the SC’s Lahore Registry. The provincial government, in its appeal, maintained that the LHC failed to fulfill the legal requirements in its decision when bail was granted.

It further mentioned that there was enough evidence against the TLP chief to convict him. It requested the court to nullify the LHC’s verdict.

Rizvi was booked for launching protests and inciting people against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi. Civil Lines police had registered a first information report (FIR) under sections 290, 291, 353, 427, 186 and 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), Section 6 of the Sound System Punjab Ordinance 2015 and Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 after the TLP leaders led protests against the acquittal.

During the protests, the TLP leaders criticised state institutions, including the military and judiciary, and both Qadri and TLP patron-in-chief Pir Afzal Qadri, who was also nominated in the same case, were charged with treason and terrorism on December 1.