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LHC orders police to release PML-N workers

By Our Correspondent
July 14, 2018

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered the Punjab police to release immediately all workers of the PML-N, detained unlawfully while granted bail to 237 others (of all parties) allegedly arrested on the charges of violation of election code of conduct.

Acting Chief Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq issued this order on a petition moved by the PML-N Lawyers Forum against the arrests of the party workers ahead of the arrival of the party's Quaid Nawaz Sharif at Lahore airport.

The provincial home secretary, inspector general of police and inspector general of prisons made their appearance in the court following notices. Advocate General of Punjab Imtiaz Rasheed Siddiqui told the court that 141 persons had been detained under Section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) while 237 others had been arrested for violating code of conduct announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

IGP Kaleem Imam also told the court that arrests were made following threats of terrorism activities in the province. Justice Haq expressed dismay over the non release of the workers arrested in bailable offence. The court was there to protect the rights of the citizens, the judge added. The judge reminded the IGP that the police acts should not reflect any partiality towards any political party.

Justice Haq directed the police to release the unlawfully arrested workers of the PML-N and issued bail orders for the 237 others arrested for violation of the ECP's code. The judge also directed the home secretary to decide representation of 141 other arrested workers by Saturday (today).

Earlier, a panel of lawyers appeared before the court and contended that the caretaker government in Punjab and the police arrested a large number of workers of the PML-N and detained them illegally.

They said the police refused to disclose any information regarding the whereabouts of the arrested workers. They alleged that the police also hurled threats at the families of the PML-N's arrested workers of dire consequences in case they approach the court.

The lawyers argued that the workers had been arrested without any reason and in blatant disregard of the law. They asked the court to order immediate release of the arrested workers of the PML-N and stop the police from causing harassment to their families.