The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday granted bail to chief of the Haq Do Tehreek Maulana Hidayatur Rehman who has been in detention for over three months on murder charges.
Hidayutur Rehman made the headlines last year for leading a series of protests in Gwadar against illegal trawling in Gwadar’s waters, a high number of security checkpoints and a lack of trade on the Pak-Iran border.
Rehman, who is also Balochistan general secretary of Jamaat-i-Islami, was arrested in Gwadar on Jan 13 over charges stemming from the killing of a policeman by unidentified assailants on Dec 27, 2022, during the protests held by HDT supporters in December.
The arrest of the HDT chief ignited protests in various parts of Gwadar. His supporters had issued a warning last month that further demonstrations would follow if he was not acquitted.
Hidayatur Rehman’s bail plea was taken up by a three-member bench comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar. Hidayatur Rehman’s lawyer Kamran Murtaza was also present.
At the start of the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel brought to the court’s attention that his client was apprehended from court premises.
Justice Masood inquired about the reasons for not challenging the arrest.
In response, the counsel explained that at the time of the incident, the Supreme Court had not yet ruled that an arrest made within the premises would be considered unlawful. “This rule was decided in the wake of the arrest of Imran Khan,” the lawyer said.
However, the state counsel argued against granting bail to Hidayatur Rehman until the judicial proceedings of the main suspect, Majid Johar, were concluded.
Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar inquired whether Hidayatur Rehman faced charges of inciting and aiding in the murder of the policeman.
Murtaza, his counsel, replied that the specific charge would be determined during the trial. The counsel told the court that Rehman’s movement was primarily related to the facilitation of water supply.
After hearing arguments, the apex court approved bail for the HDT chief, subject to two surety bonds valued at Rs300,000 each.