ATC dismisses Qureshi’s bail application in two cases

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ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Friday dismissed former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s application for interim bail and exemption for the court appearance.

The court dismissed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice chairman’s interim bail in two cases registered against him at the Kahna police station over a no-show.

Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain announced the decision after hearing arguments from both sides.

Qureshi’s counsel Ali Bukhari had filed two different pleas seeking a day exemption from court appearance and a summon notice for his client as currently he is in jail in a cypher case. He had also moved the court to extend Qureshi’s interim bail.

During the hearing, the prosecutor requested the court to reject Qureshi’s bail application. Bukhari advocated that his client was “not absent intentionally, but he has been sent to jail on court orders”.

“A judge has to judge by looking at the whole picture,” he said.

He maintained that he was not asking for “extraordinary relief” for his client but an exemption from attendance.

On the other hand, the prosecutor said that the Supreme Court has made the presence of the accused for bail before arrest mandatory. The PTI vice chairman’s counsel said that if “he was intentionally absent, then the bail could be dismissed”.

The court reserved the decision after hearing arguments from both parties.

Subsequently, the court rejected Qureshi’s interim bail application and also dismissed pleas seeking exemption and summon. It said that the law requires the presence of the accused for bail before arrest.

The former minister is currently in Adiala jail on a judicial remand in the missing cypher case registered under the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

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