Lawmaker Ali Wazir, a leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), was released from Karachi’s Central Jail on Tuesday after over two years’ imprisonment in cases related to allegedly inciting hate against state institutions in public speeches.
Sharing Wazir’s release orders in a posting on Twitter, fellow MNA Mohsin Dawar said he was “very happy” for his colleague’s release after years in jail. “Every attempt was made to break Ali’s spirit and to keep him in jail but he has prevailed. Justice cannot be denied forever,” he added.
The PTI leader was arrested from Peshawar in December 2020 over allegedly provocative speeches inciting hate against state institutions. He was subsequently shifted to Karachi, where he had delivered the allegedly offending speeches. In addition to Wazir, some other party leaders were also booked under sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), including sedition and rioting.
Of the pending cases, Wazir has been acquitted in one case and has secured bail in three others. Speaking with media, his counsel said his client had also been granted relief in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where 14 cases were registered against him. He said the Peshawar High Court had barred police from arresting the lawmaker in 11 cases and granted bail in the remaining three.
The MNA’s release has been widely hailed across social media and by human rights bodies. In a statement, the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) said that it was “heartened” to hear of Wazir’s release from jail. It also shared an earlier statement it had issued on the “humiliating” treatment that had been meted out to him in jail. In that statement, it had urged the federal and Sindh governments to both ensure that he is able to travel to Islamabad and fulfill his constitutional obligations as a member of Parliament.