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Farooq Sattar gets bail in hate speech cases

KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court granted pre-arrest bail to Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Dr Farooq Sattar in five cases related to hate speech on Saturday.

The ATC judge approved bail for him against a surety of Rs 250,000 each in two cases whereas Rs50,000 each in other three cases. The court issued notice to the prosecutor for June 09 when it would hear arguments from both sides for confirmation or otherwise of the bail.

Speaking to reporters outside the ATC, Dr Farooq Sattar lashed out at the Sindh government for curtailing mayoral powers, saying it will have to devolve the powers to the mayors across the province.

The success of the provincial government and civic bodies was interlinked, he said while adding “the provincial government cannot succeed in its efforts of delivering better civic services to citizens without empowering civic institutions.”

Commenting on prolonged power cuts, he asked the Power Minister and chairman Nepra to step down over their failure to reduce load-shedding across the country. No one believed the claims of power distribution companies about recurring technical faults causing power failures he said. He added they should have improved their power distribution system ahead of the hot summer season.

Dr Farooq Sattar along with other MQM-P leaders had been facing charges of organizing, facilitating and listening to the incendiary speeches made by MQM London chief Altaf Hussain where he railed against the military establishment and other security institutions after initiation of Karachi operation. He was accused of inciting the party workers to attack the office of a media house.

Dr Sattar was booked in as many as 31 cases relating to hate speeches of their party chief.

The MQM-P leader had earlier obtained protective bail from the Sindh High Court after the ATC ordered the Rangers director general to arrest and produce him in court.

Earlier Dr Sattar was arrested and later released after a brief detention on reportedly high-level political intervention.

Police said he was arrested in connection with cases related to anti-state hate speech of MQM founder on Aug 22 that triggered a violent protest and attack on a media house.

After his release, the Sindh chief minister’s spokesman had said that Sattar escaped when a police team tried to arrest him following his arrest warrants issued by the court.

The two main cases regarding incendiary speech and subsequent violence on Aug 22, last year, were lodged at the Artillery Maidan police station.



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