An antiterrorism court (ATC) in Karachi has dismissed MNA Ali Wazir’s request for bail in one of the four cases registered against him for hate speech, sedition and inciting the public against the state. Outside the Sindh Assembly, the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM)’s sit-in demanding Wazir’s release has entered its fourth day on Wednesday.
Wazir has been detained at Central Jail Karachi since December 2020. In addition to the four antiterrorism court cases in Karachi, Wazir faces a fifth case against him in Miram Shan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on similar charges.
On Tuesday, ATC-X dismissed the MNA’s post-arrest bail on the grounds that the prosecution had already recorded the testimonies of two witnesses, procedurally nullifying Wazir’s bail request.
A day earlier, ATC-II had again ordered for the arrest of Wazir in another of the cases against him. Also named in the case are PTM leaders Alam Zaib, Muhammad Tahir and Noorullah Tareen. The four were booked on charges of resorting to violence, delivering incendiary speeches and defaming state institutions by the Sohrab Goth police in Karachi in February 2019.
Last month, the ATC-XII had requested verification from the Supreme Court regarding Wazir’s post-arrest bail, granted on November 30, 2021. On February 4th, the court received confirmation of his bail, but the MNA had yet to be released.
In solidarity with the detained MNA, who was elected to his seat in South Waziristan, PTM leaders said the would continue their sit-in until Wazir’s release notice. A large number of PTM supporters remained outside the state building on Wednesday, demanding the Sindh government drop the charges against Wazir and address the grievances of the some seven million Pakhtuns living in the port city.