On Wednesday, May 11, leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz (Protection) Movement (PTM) and a member of the Pakistan National Assembly, Ali Wazir, was granted bail by the Sindh High Court in a hate speech case. Wazir is accused in two sedition cases and was arrested in December 2020.
On December 6, 2020, Wazir was accused of making “derogatory remarks” against army and state institutions during a public speech. Wazir’s lawyers argued he had been re-arrested shortly after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the Sohrab Goth case in November last year.
The lawyers told the court that one the one hand, there was no intention of taking any measures against one of the co-accused who was even being considered to become a federal minister, while his client continued to languish in jail for being “anti-state”.
The two-member bench led by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro asked the police to produce the transcript of the provocative speech made in Pashto, which was not available, and further questioned its content.
As per the court, the Sindh police had acted in a “monarchical manner”. Despite the case pending for so long, not a single statement from anyone was recorded. The court added that the police did not even bother to arrest the co-accused.
Several PTM members welcomed the court’s decision including its prominent leader Manzoor Pashteen, who responded by saying that Wazir’s only crime was that he demanded accountability for the controversial war on terror in Pashtunkhwa.
Sindh High Court has granted bail to @Aliwazirna50 in the Shah Lateef Town case today which is great news for all of us. Ali's bail in one more case is to be heard in ATC tomorrow. We are hoping for the courts to do justice and hope he will be granted bail by the ATC.
— Mohsin Dawar (@mjdawar) May 11, 2022
At least 13 of Wazir’s relatives have been reportedly killed in different militant attacks in south Waziristan. He has himself faced targeted attacks by the Taliban and other militia groups based in the northwest region of Pakistan.
Since 2018, after he was elected as the member of the National Assembly, Wazir has consistently raised sensitive issues related to his community like extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. In his recent speech in the Assembly, Wazir questioned the accountability of state institutions including the role of judiciary and police, for which he was again targeted by opposition parties.