Sufi Muhammad granted bail by PHC

Salman Yousafzai

PESHAWAR: citing illness and old age, Peshawar High Court (PHC) approved bail to banned Tehreek-e-Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Muhammad on Monday.

Sufi’s lawyer submitted a written plea sought leniency due to his illness and old age, however, the Justice Waqar Ahmad Sath has approved the bail on ‘medical grounds’.

In bail application, Sufi Muhammad claimed that he should be released “as his health is deteriorating with each passing day.”

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Peshawar on 7, February 2015 indicted the banned TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad for sedition over a speech at Grassy Ground Swat in Feb 2009 when the government had made a deal with him for the restoration of peace in Malakand region.

In that speech, Sufi Muhammad had termed the Constitution “un-Islamic” and demanded enforcement of the Sharia.

He was arrested along with his aides Mohammad Alam, and his spokesperson, Ameer Izzat Khan for inciting violence and committing terrorism. The cleric had been charged with sedition, aiding terrorism and conspiracy.

Sufi Muhammad is the father-in-law of Mullah Fazlullah, chief of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

In 2001, Sufi Muhammad was jailed upon returning to Pakistan from fighting in Afghanistan. He was released in 2008 to pursue militants in Swat and an accord was reached with the government agreeing to enforce Nizam-e-Adl regulations.

Initially, Maulana Sufi was apprehended in Kurram Agency in December 2001 on his return to Pakistan from Afghanistan where he had gone heading around 10,000 poorly armed persons to fight the American forces. He was tried along with some 30 of his supporters by the political agent concerned and was sentenced under several sections of the PPC and the Frontier Crimes Regulation.

In some cases, witnesses against Maulana Sufi had either died or could not be traced.