ATC indicts Faisal Raza Abidi for anti-judiciary remarks

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ISLAMABAD – An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad on Monday indicted former senator Faisal Raza Abidi in a case pertaining to an interview in which he used “highly insulting and inappropriate language” against the chief justice.

Abidi pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him in court. ATC judge Shahrukh Arjumand heard the case.

The former senator was arrested from outside the Supreme Court in October, after a first information report (FIR) was filed against him in Islamabad’s Secretariat police station, claiming that Abidi had used “highly insulting and inappropriate language” against the chief justice and the judiciary in an interview. It also alleged that the politician had “undermined the honour of the chief justice [and] incited the public”.

The FIR, registered by the assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Shaukat Abbasi, was lodged under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). It also included Sections 500 (punishment for defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 505 (II) (statements conducing to public mischief), 228 (intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in judicial proceeding), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against the state) and 109 (punishment of abetment if act abetted in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

During the hearing today, Abidi’s counsel claimed his client was not well and urged the court to shift him from jail to a hospital. The court ordered a medical checkup a second time and said that the decision to transfer Abidi from jail to a hospital will be taken after the submission of his medical reports. The ATC has rejected his appeal for post-arrest bailsubmitted on medical grounds once before.

The court summoned ASI Abbasi, police officer Shabbir Tanoli and citizen Raja Ayaz Abbasi to appear before court to stand witness in the next hearing, that will take place on Jan 3.  — Dawn

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