LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Saturday granted interim postarrest bail to TV anchorperson and YouTuber Imran Riaz in a case of incitement against army and other state institutions after he undertook notto speak on theissue.
Mr Riaz along with his lawyers appeared before the court to pursue his petition for quashing of 18 FIRs registered against him with an alternative prayer to investigate and prosecute only in one FIR in the larger interest of justice, besides suspending the operation of all 18 FIRs.
At the outset of the hearing,Advocate Mian Ali Ashfaq, a counsel forthe anchorperson,thanked Justice Ali Bagar Najafi for taking up the petition during Eid holidays.
Thejudge observed thatthe courts were supposed to protect fundamentalrights of the citizens enshrined in the Constitution.
Advocate General for Punjab (AGP) Shahzad Shaukat made a concession statement that the Punjab government was willing to show grace to the petitioner and, therefore, would have no objection if an interim post-arrest bail was granted to him in the FIR registered with Chakwal`s Saddar police station until next working day, when he shall appear before the judicial magistrate concerned.
The FIR was registered under sections 505-1(c) 505-(2), 109, 501 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) read with sections 4, 5, 11, 16, 20, 22 of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act2016 (Peca) and under section 16 ofthe Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960.
The petitioner undertook that he would not release any statement regarding the issue during the pendency of the petition.
Justice Najafi granted interim protective bail to the anchorperson in the Chakwal case subject to furnishing personal surety bond till July 13 when he shall appear before the judicial magistrate for appropriate orders.The judge also directed the government and the police to submit para-wise comments on his petition by July 19.
Earlier, a judicial magistrate at cantonment courts discharged Mr Riaz in another FIR on similar charges registered with the Civil Lines police station of Lahore.
The CIA police had produced him before the magistrate and a prosecutor sought his physical remand. However, the magistrate discharged him in the case andissued his release order.