Imaan Mazari granted
pre-arrest bail in
army ‘defamation’ case
till June 9 by IHC

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday granted lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir pre-arrest bail till June 9 in a case related to “abusing and defaming the senior command of the Pakistan Army”.

Her pre-arrest bail application, which was filed by Advocate Zainab Janjua, was heard by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

Lawyer Imaan Mazari-Hazir.

A first information report (FIR) was registered against Mazari-Hazir on May 26 at the capital’s Ramna police station on the complaint of Lt Colonel Syed Humayun Iftikhtar, who was representing the Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch of the General Headquarters (GHQ).

The JAG branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces is composed of the military’s senior officers, lawyers and judges who provide legal services to the army, air force, navy, and marines at all levels of command. It falls under the law directorate of the army.

She has been booked under sections 505 (inciting people against armed forces) and 138 (abetment of act of insubordination by soldier) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The FIR said that Mazari-Hazir had made a “derogatory and hateful” statement on May 21, the day her mother, former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, was arrested from outside her house in a land ownership and transfer case.

A video of a visibly distraught Mazari-Hazir was later shared on social media in which she could be seen making statements about Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The FIR against the lawyer said her “derogatory statements are highly disparaging, aimed to cause and incite mutiny/intimidation amongst rank and file of the Pakistan Army”, adding that they led to “ridicule and created hatred within the Pakistan Army, while also causing unrest within the institution”.

“Her insightful [sic] statements also aid/abets an act of insubordination by officers/soldiers of the Pakistan Army. There are reasons to believe that such [an] act will harm the reputation of [the] army and senior leadership,” the FIR stated.

It also said Mazari-Hazir’s “act” reflected her intent to cause fear and alarm among the public “thus inducing to commit offence against the state”.

Later, challenging the FIR, the lawyer representing Mazari-Hazir said her client was being made a “victim of ulterior motives and highhandedness of the complainant and others, who are highly influential. The FIR is ill-founded and allegations are absurd,” the petition said.

The court admitted her plea and granted Mazari-Hazir pre-arrest bail for two weeks.

In a written order issued later in the day, the IHC CJ said notices were being issued to the state and the complainant, Mazari-Hazir, for June 9.

“In the circumstances, the petitioner is admitted to ad-interim pre-arrest bail, subject to furnishing of surety in the sum of Rs1,000 with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the deputy registrar (judicial) of this court,” the written order said, directing Mazari-Hazir to join the investigation and appear before the court on “each date fixed”.