Monday September 25, 2023

Islamabad police barred from arresting Fawad Chaudhry till May 17

Justice Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzeb approves protective bail of PTI leader in all cases

May 16, 2023

A still taken from YouTube video showing PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry trying to escape police on May 16, 2023. — via Geo News
A still taken from YouTube video showing PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry trying to escape police on May 16, 2023. — via Geo News

ISLAMABAD: The federal capital police were barred from arresting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Fawad Chaudhry till May 17 (Wednesday) as the Islamabad High Court (IHC) approved his two-day protective bail in all cases.

IHC Justice Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzeb on Tuesday barred the authorities from arresting Chaudhry from within the limits of the federal capital till Wednesday.

Earlier today, the former information minister shortly after being released on bail rushed back to the court to evade the possible arrest as the police made a move to detain Fawad as he was leaving the IHC.

Chaudhry was leaving the IHC in his car after the court directed police to release the former information minister — who was taken into custody on May 10 under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Ordinance (MPO) — and declared his arrest "illegal".

The police made a move to arrest the PTI leader despite his submitting an undertaking in the IHC of not violating section 144 and taking part in protests. 

Subsequently, IHC Justice Aurangzeb heard the PTI leader’s petition seeking protective bail in all cases.

The court had sought details of the case from the advocate general, who informed the court that two cases were registered against the PTI leader.

The IHC accepted Fawad’s bail petition and ordered him to send a copy of the verdict to the Islamabad police chief via “special messenger”.

Earlier, hearing separate pleas, the high court also directed the police to "immediately" release senior party leaders Shireen Mazari and Senator Falak Naz.

The orders to release the PTI leaders were issued by Justice Aurangzeb as the court took up separate pleas.

During Chaudhry's hearing, Islamabad Advocate General Barrister Jahangir Jadoon appeared before the single-judge bench.

“I want to place some facts before the court,” he said, informing the court that the copy of the court’s order was not given to the IG office and law officers. He added that the biometric verification of the PTI leader was also not done on the petition.

At this, the judge rebuked the lawyer saying that he wasn’t the judge and it was the court’s authority to see whether the biometrics had been done.

Moving on, the AG contended that Fawad had not been arrested in any case. He would have been required to be presented in court if the arrest had been made under a case.

Barrister Jadoon further argued that Fawad through his conduct had to prove whether he is a peaceful citizen or not. He added that the nation incurred losses of billions due to the incidents of May 9.

At this, Justice Aurangzeb remarked that the court had not barred the authorities from taking action on those incidents.

However, Jadoon mentioned that the court while stopping Imran Khan’s arrest had mentioned the MPO separately. If they had stopped arrest in cases only, the arrest could have been made under MPO, he added.

At this, the court asked who had advised that the arrest could be made under MPO.

To the court’s query, the AG responded that no one had advised them, however, they were unaware of the court order against arrest.

The government lawyer then presented a tweet by Fawad, posted on May 10, saying that it was a video of the PTI leader inciting workers to join the protests.

The government lawyer stated that Fawad in his tweet had said that it was liable to the PTI workers to take part in protests following Imran Khan's arrest.

On this point, Babar Awan argued that the deputy commissioner must have known about the high court’s order on the arrest by now. He urged the court to extend its order stopping authorities from arresting Fawad and his client be given time to contact the relevant court.

The court then asked if the police had shown any documents to the PTI leader at the time of his arrest.

“When the order was read, the police officer said he did not know English," said Awan. He added that his client was arrested based on material that does not exist.

To this assertion by the PTI lawyer, Justice Aurangzeb responded that the incidents that occurred after Imran Khan’s arrest should be taken seriously.

“Fawad Chaudhry is an important person, a former federal minister, does he not know the mob of Pakistan?” asked Justice Aurangzeb.

“When Fawad asked people to come out did he expect only law-abiding citizens to come out?”

“If the district magistrate does not pass this [detention] order on the matter then what should be done?” asked Justice Aurangzeb. He further added that the court had summoned Fawad so that he could be released.

“It had not seen the material shared by the advocate general today.” The court had then reserved the verdict.

IHC directs police to ‘immediately releaase’ Mazari

Earlier, Justice Aurangzeb while hearing a plea filed on behalf of Mazari ordered the release of the former human right’s minister, declaring her arrest under Section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) illegal.

The former human rights minister’s daughter Imaan Mazari had approached the IHC for the release of her mother.

During today’s hearing, the petitioner’s counsel Zainab Janjua informed the court that the district magistrate ordered Mazari’s arrest fearing that she may harm the law and order situation. She added that the former minister was accused of inciting PTI workers.

However, the counsel explained to the court that her client was in court since May 9 and had not even issued any public statement. She added that the former ministers’ location was tracked at her home which can be checked through the CCTV footage and call data record.

“Tell us what is the age of Mazari,” the court asked upon hearing this. Janjua informed the court that the PTI leader was 72 years old and has medical issues as well.

At this point, the deputy commissioner, who was acting as the district magistrate, appeared in court.

However, the DC’s failure to come up with the record irked the court and it ordered the official to appear with the material on the basis of which his detention order was issued.

The court then took a break. Once the hearing resumed, the high court declared the former human rights minister’s detention “illegal”.

The bench also ordered the release of PTI Senator Falak Naz who was arrested under the same section as Mazari.