Hassaan Niazi, the focal person of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on legal affairs, was arrested Monday outside an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad, police officials told Geo News.
Niazi has been arrested for resisting at a police checkpost, the police said.
Advocate Faisal Chaudhry has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the release of the PTI leader. The petition stated that "police abducted Hasaan Niazi from the premises of Judical Complex after he obtained bail in a case."
Niazi was arrested after his appearance at the ATC where hearing of cases registered — in the Raman police station in Islamabad — against PTI leaders and workers was being held.
ATC judge Raja Jawad Abbas was hearing the cases.
The party’s leaders present at the court included Shibli Faraz, Omar Ayub, Raja Khurram, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, and Farrukh Habib, among others.
All of the aforementioned leaders as well as the party’s workers have been booked under terrorism charges for the violence that erupted outside the judicial complex on Saturday where Khan appeared to have his non-bailable arrest warrants in the Toshakhana case cancelled.
PTI workers, on Saturday, clashed with police and caused damage to public property. They also set fire to 10 police motorcycles outside the judicial complex and overturned a police officer's car.
When the ousted premier — whose government was sent home following a no-confidence motion last April — arrived at the judicial complex after the stipulated time, the clashes forced him to leave the premises of the complex.
Faraz, who has also been booked for terrorism, arrived at the court today while seated on a wheelchair.
The police had gone to arrest the PTI leader at his residence a day earlier.
The court has approved bail applications of PTI leaders Farrukh Habib, Raja Khurram, Shibli Faraz, Asad Qaiser, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Murad Saeed, Muhammad Asim, Hammad Azhar, Ghulam Sarwar, and Hassaan Niazi as well.
The bail applications have been approved till April 3 against surety bonds worth Rs50,000.
During the hearing of the cases, the ATC judge remarked: “There are so many suspects that [we] will have to check the history back and forth.”
Meanwhile, the PTI claims that Khan's focal person on legal affairs has been "abducted" by Superintendent of Police Nosherwan Ali Chandio, despite securing bail on all cases registered against him.
"It is the peak of police brutality. Hassaan Niazi, a lawyer whose bail was just approved by the court, has been abducted," the party tweeted.
"Barrister @HniaziISF has been abducted illegally by @ICT_Police’s SP Nausherwan despite being on bail. We condemn this fascism and demand his immediate release," the Insaf Lawyers Forum tweeted.
The forum demanded that the country's chief justice take notice of this "blatant violation of laws.
"The Rule of Law in Pakistan stands suspended," the tweet read.
PTI leader Farrukh Habib wrote that the police were deployed on both sides of the ATC, so that “they could arrest” them.
“According to lawyers, the police repeatedly said that they have received special orders to pick up Hassaan Niazi and Farrukh Habib. The lawyers informed me about their intentions; I dodged them and escaped after securing bail,” he wrote on Twitter.
PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry, taking to Twitter, called Niazi’s arrest “unacceptable”.
“Arrest of @HniaziISF is unacceptable, he has been arrested from Court premises despite bail call upon ILF lawyers and Bar Associations to join in protest,” Fawad wrote in his tweet.
Condemning the development, the party’s secretary general Asad Umar said that the Constitution seems suspended following Niazi’s arrest.
“Hassaan Niazi has been arrested despite getting bail from the court. The Constitution now appears to be suspended,” his tweet read.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Islamabad Capital Police has rubbished claims of arresting a 10-year-old minor citing propaganda against police and other law enforcement institutions.
“Police has not arrested any 10-year-old minor child. A hateful propaganda is being carried out on social media to stop [us] from fulfilling our lawful duties,” the spokesperson said.
The ICT added that the police is performing its responsibilities while remaining within the scope of law.
“The law is equal for all. Parents should keep their younger children away from crowds,” the spokesperson stated.
Earlier today, the PTI chief claimed that the police in Islamabad raided homes without warrants to abduct PTI workers and “picked up” their children as young as 10 years old when the workers weren’t at home.
“Fascism at unprecedented levels with police in Islamabad raiding homes without warrants to abduct PTI workers. Where the worker is not present, children as young as 10 yrs are picked up,”
Khan further demanded the “immediate release” of his party’s workers and their children.
“We demand the immediate release of all our workers & their children who have been abducted,” he wrote in his tweet.
Meanwhile another case filed by Khan, seeking details of cases registered against him, in the Islamabad High Court was also heard by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq in which all parties have been issued a notice to submit their responses by March 27.
The court also sought records of all cases registered within the limits of the federal capital.
During the hearing, where PTI chief was being represented by counsel Faisal Chaudhry, the hearing at the ATC over the judicial complex violence was also discussed.
“Nothing proper happened on Saturday. What will be the difference if both you and I make a mistake?” the judge remarked.
Chaudhry said that the party has no other place to approach except the courts.
Meanwhile, the counsel said that 47 cases have been filed against the PTI chairman in Islamabad, while police have kept some first information reports (FIR) “secret”.
Responding to Chaudhry, Justice Farooq said that a FIR is not sealed because it is a public document. “Police calls for an investigation,” he remarked.
The judge assured to take notice according his jurisdiction. He also questioned the PTI lawyer asking him about the judgment related to PTI Senator Azam Swati stating that cases against the politician have been registered across the country.
“If told, we would take the legal route,” Chaudhry said during the hearing.
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