On Tuesday November 30, the Supreme Court of Pakistan granted bail to the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement leader Ali Wazir, who has been in jail for close to a year. Wazir faces charges of insulting a state institution. However, he remains in jail as another case is pending against him.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood accepted Wazir’s appeal against the dismissal of his bail application by the Sindh High Court on June 1. The bench set the bail amount at PKR 400,000.
Wazir, a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, was arrested on December 16, 2020 on charges including criminal conspiracy and making derogatory remarks against various state institutions. This followed a speech he delivered at a public meeting on December 6 that year.
The Supreme Court pointed out that Wazir could not be kept in jail if the co-accused have been granted bail. One of the judges asked why the issues raised by Wazir should not have been discussed in parliament. Another judge asked why he was being charged under an anti-terror law.
Wazir’s appeal also pointed out that he was being persecuted for political differences with the party in power.
Wazir was elected to the National Assembly in 2018. He is one of the prominent leaders of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (Pashtun Protection Movement) which has raised issues facing the community such as extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. He has often been targeted by the Taliban and other militant groups. At least 13 of his relatives have been reportedly killed by militants.
PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen tweeted thanking all those who raised their voice in support of Wazir.
Finally, Ali Wazir granted bail by the SC. He remained incarcerated for more than a year on politically motivated charges in Karachi prison. Hope that Hanif & Owaisl will also be released soon.
Thanks to all pol.parties, Lawyers,journalists &everyone who raised voice for Ali.
— Manzoor Pashteen (@ManzoorPashteen) November 30, 2021
Last month, Wazir and other PTM leaders and members were indicted in a sedition case for the same comments from December 2020