ATC grants bail to journalist in police officer murder case

PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court granted on Monday the release on bail of a journalist, Khadim Khan Afridi, arrested by the anti-terrorism department a few days ago in connection with the murder of a police officer a decade ago.

The court granted his request for bail on the condition that he provide two sureties of 100,000 rupees each.

Khaidm Afridi, former president of the Bara Press Club in the Khyber tribal district, was arrested on May 13 by officials from the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD). His arrest sparked protests by journalists in various cities, including Khyber.

Initially, Mr. Khadim’s fate was not known. A few days after his arrest, he was found in Peshawar Central Jail.

Orders the petitioner to provide two sureties of Rs 100,000 each

Barrister Farhadullah Afridi appeared for the claimant and said that in 2013 unidentified bikers attacked Police Rider Squad personnel within the confines of Gulbahar Police Station resulting in the death of a police officer and injury to another.

He said the FIR of the event was recorded against unidentified attackers. He added that a motorcycle used in the incident was left behind by the attackers and that CTD later arrested a person named Sadiq Shah as the owner.

The lawyer said the suspect allegedly told police he sold the motorbike to someone named Khadim. He added that neither the parentage of the said person was given nor that there were any concrete details about him.

Farhadullah said CTD claimed he had a source report that his client Khadim Afridi was the owner of the motorcycle and was involved in the event. He argued that simply being the namesake of a suspect, his client could not be arrested.

He pointed out that his client was irresponsibly sent to prison under article 56 of the criminal procedure code and after his colleagues and lawyers pushed loudly, he was finally released from prison by Gulbahar Police.

He said that upon further investigation by the police, it appeared to them that he was not the right person for them. He claimed that the petitioner was a respectable citizen and a journalist and had been falsely implicated in the case.

The lawyer argued that after the event, almost a decade had passed and that the applicant had continued during this period to carry out his duties as a journalist.

He added that even the suspect, who gave Khadim’s name to CTD, told police he was not said person.

He also asked the court to release the petitioner in this case as it had now been clearly proven that he was innocent and his arrest was not based on any evidence.

Posted in Dawn, May 24, 2022