Pakistan's top court has granted bail to a lawmaker from the restive tribal belt who was arrested nearly a year ago on sedition charges he denies.
A Supreme Court three-judge bench in Islamabad ruled that Ali Wazir could be released from prison on a 400,000-rupee ($2,083) bond, his lawyer told RFE/RL on November 30, after a lower court in Sindh Province had rejected his bail application.
However, lawyer Salahuddin Gandapur said that Wazir would not be released pending a ruling on another bail plea in a separate case.
Wazir, who is also a leader of the civil rights Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), was arrested on December 16, 2020, and charged with making an "anti-state speech" during an unsanctioned rally in Karachi earlier that month in which he criticized the country's powerful military.
Another case was filed against him for allegedly inciting people against the state during a PTM meeting in May 2018. He denies both accusations.
Qadir Khan, who is representing Wazir at the anti-terrorism court in Karachi where the case is pending, told RFE/RL that he will now file a bail application in that case.
The PTM has campaigned since 2018 for the rights of Pakistan's estimated 35 million ethnic Pashtuns, many of whom live near the border with Afghanistan, where the military has conducted campaigns against militants.
The group has attracted tens of thousands of people to public rallies in recent years to denounce the army's heavy-handed tactics, which have killed thousands of Pashtun civilians and forced millions more to abandon their homes since 2003.
International rights groups say the authorities have banned peaceful rallies organized by the PTM and some of its leading members have been arbitrarily detained and prevented from traveling within the country. Some members have also faced charges of sedition and cybercrimes.