The Peshawar High Court released on Monday chief of the proscribed Tehreek Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Mohammadi Maulana Sufi Muhammad on bail, citing his old age and precarious health.
“The Maulana is so old. He is almost paralysed now. His health is unstable,” his lawyer Fida Gul told the single-member bench of the PHC. “He deserves to be released on bail,” Gul argued.
The lawyer said that Maulana Sufi Muhammad suffered severe illness and his treatment was not possible in hospital inside the jail and the jail officials were unable to shift him elsewhere because of security risks.
Maulana Sufi Muhammad has been in prison for a long time, but no case could be proved against him in the court therefore, he should be released on bail, the lawyer insisted. The elderly cleric, who has FIRs registered against him in a Swat, was arrested in March 2010.
At that time, he was referred in an anti-terrorism court in 13 different cases. Due to security reasons, the ATC judge has been conducting his trial inside the Peshawar central prison where he was imprisoned.
He was charged with staging a rally in Timergara in Lower Dir and dubbing the then military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf an agent of the US in 2001. In other cases, he was accused of sedition, hatching a conspiracy against the state, inciting hatred against the government and threatening other individuals among others.
The lawyer wondered how such 93-year-old person, who was critically ill, could be kept in jail. Subsequently, the single-member bench of Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth accepted Sufi Muhammad’s bail application.
On July 30, 2009 a Swat police station had booked the TNSM chief for hate speech against the government terming the Constitution “un-Islamic” and demanded enforcement of the Sharia.