Babar Ghauri handed over to police for questioning about ‘anti-state activities’

Yousuf Katpar
Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday handed over former federal minister and senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Babar Khan Ghauri to the Karachi police on seven-day physical remand for questioning in a 2015 case pertaining to allegedly facilitating a provocative speech of his party’s founder, conspiracy against the state and terrorism.

Ghauri was taken into custody as soon as he touched down at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, on Monday night after ending his seven-year self-exile. He was shifted to an undisclosed location. On Tuesday, the investigating officer of the case produced him before the administrative judge of the anti-terrorism courts with a request to grant his police remand for interrogation. He informed the judge that the MQM leader had been declared a proclaimed offender by an ATC over his perpetual absence from the trial proceedings.

The IO said the police detained the accused upon his arrival at the airport from Dubai. Ghauri was required to be interrogated about the case and other absconding accused, as well as his suspected involvement in “anti-state activities” and clandestine foreign motives, the officer said, adding that his custody was also needed for the criminal record office and to check if he had any previous criminal record.

The officer pleaded with the court to approve his remand until July 18. The judge, however, remanded the MQM leader in police custody until July 12 with a direction to the IO to complete the investigation and produce him along with a compliance report on the next date of hearing. The London-based MQM chief along with a number of party leaders were booked in over a dozen cases.

SHC seeks reports

The SHC directed the federal and provincial law officers to submit reports explaining the circumstances behind whisking away Babar Ghori from the Karachi airport. The court also extended his interim protective bail in two cases pertaining to terror financing and illegal appointments in the KPT.