PHC Rejects Ziaullah Afridi Bail Plea

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Wednesday, 23 September 2015 12:43

PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court dismissed the bail petitions of former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa minister for mines and minerals Ziaullah Afridi and the mines DG Dr Liaqat Khattak.

Both suspects are detained at Central Prison Peshawar for cases of illegal mining in Nowshera, Abbottabad and Charsadda, illegal appointments and transfers. They were arrested by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Irshad Qaiser dismissed the petitions after hearing extensive arguments from both sides on Tuesday.

Ziaullah’s counsel Barrister Mudassir Amir said the court had already granted bail to the detained MPA in the Nowshera mining case. He said the nature of charges is the same, yet separate cases were registered which is illegal.

Amir said the KPEC (Amendment) Act 2015 states, “A person accused of more offences than one of the same kind committed during the space of any number of years from the first to the last, such offences may be charged with and tried at one trial for any number of such offences.”

He added Ziaullah was not even a member of the committee that had extended the mining lease for Muhammad Ayaz in Charsadda. “My client had filed 497 FIRs against suspects of illegal mining but not one has been arrested so far,” he added.

Abdul Latif Afridi, counsel for Dr Liaqat, said there is mala fide intention in the arrest of his client because he was the one who ordered FIR registration against those involved in illegal mining. Khattak was appointed on a deputation basis and has spent the longest period in judicial custody among those arrested by the commission, he said.

Deputy Prosecutor General Zahid Aman told the court illegal mining carried out by Ziaullah caused losses worth Rs1.2 billion to the provincial exchequer. The accused issued 3,200 challan books, each book containing 100 challans.

“Under Rule 107 of the Mining Concession Rules 2005, leaseholders should apply for a renewal a year before the expiry date. Ayaz applied one-and-a-half years after his lease was expired. It was still renewed and transferred in the name of Jalal Khattak,” Aman said.

Upon hearing the arguments, the court dismissed the bail petitions of both Ziaullah and Khattak.

Cycle of woes

The former minister was arrested on July 9 in an illegal mining case from Mamakhel, Nowshera. Subsequently, two more cases of similar nature were registered against him. Meanwhile Khattak was arrested on June 17.

On August 24, a division bench of Justice Musarat Hilali and Justice Muhammad Younis Thaheem had granted bail to Ziaullah in the Nowshera case. On the very next day, the Ehtesab Court put him behind bars in the Charsadda and Abbottabad cases; on September 2, a division bench rejected his ad interim bail in the instant cases.

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