ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday provided much-needed relief to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf by taking up its petitions on a holiday and restraining the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from harassing the PTI leaders and not arresting Shahbaz Gill on his return from the USA.
The court also restrained the government authorities from taking any further action against the PTI leadership in the Masjid-e-Nabvi sanctity violation case.The IHC, on a petition filed by former information minister and senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, directed the interior secretary to ensure that the PTI leadership was not harassed till May 9, and no further inquiry would be conducted against them till that date.
The petition was filed by the PTI legal team comprising Advocate Faisal Fareed and Advocate Ali Bukhari. The IHC issued a circular to hear urgent cases even during the Eid holidays. The IHC CJ fixed the PTI petition for an urgent hearing despite a holiday on Monday, while Fawad Chaudhry was also present in the court.
The petitioner pleaded that harassment of the PTI leaders should be stopped immediately. The petition sought orders to bring all cases registered in connection with the incident on record. It also requested the court to inquire about the reasons and basis for which the cases were registered and nullify any action by the police or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Meanwhile, the IHC barred the police from arresting Shahbaz Gill upon his arrival in Pakistan. Advocate Faisal Chaudhry had filed a petition seeking protective bail for Gill to avoid arrest when he returns to the country. During the hearing, Justice Minallah asked where Gill was currently.
Advocate Chaudhry informed the court that Gill had gone to the United States on April 28 and he would come back on May 4. “I have attached Gill’s return ticket with the petition [...] he wants to appear before the court and to become a part of the investigation,” he said.
He argued that 11 different cases had been registered against Shahbaz Gill and other PTI leaders in Faisalabad, Jhelum and other cities to target them for political reasons.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan, party leaders Fawad Chaudhry and Shahbaz Gill and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed were among the 150 people against whom a case was registered a day earlier after slogans were chanted against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his delegation during their visit to Masjid-e-Nabvi last week.
After the incident, former interior minister Sheikh Rashid’s nephew, Sheikh Rashid Shafique, who was also booked in the same case, was arrested at the New Islamabad International Airport on his return to the country.
A district and sessions court in Attock Monday granted the police a two-day physical remand of MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafique. The police produced Sheikh Rashid before the court amid tight security. The police pleaded with the court for physical remand of the accused. Judicial Magistrate Jamal Mehmood granted the police request and ordered for producing him in the court on the second day of Eid. The judge adjourned the hearing till May 4.
Separately, Federal Minister and senior PMLN leader Javed Latif Monday criticised PTI Chairman Imran Khan, termed him a ‘Fitna’ and stressed the need to crush it with the help of Ulema belonging to all schools of thought.
Addressing a press conference here, he blamed the PTI for orchestrating the protest in Madina, which violated the sanctity of Masjid-e-Nabvi. He called upon Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to listen to the voice of the Pakistani nation and take action against those responsible for the disrespectful act. He said former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had already disclosed what would happen in Madina.
He alleged that the PTI leadership wanted to create chaos and bloodshed in Pakistan. This is a foreign agenda and a foreign conspiracy, he claimed.Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Climate Change and senior PPP leader Sherry Rehman said that not condemning the Masjid-e-Nabvi incident by the PTI chief Imran Khan was tantamount to defending it.
In her message on Monday, she said Imran Khan was defending the Masjid-e-Nabvi incident in hushed words and corruption scandals against him openly. Sherry said the narrative of “I am right and all others are robbers and thieves” was causing the worst division in society.
Also, Tehreek Tahafuz Namoos-e-Risalat Pakistan (TTNRP) has urged the Islamabad Police to register a case against Sheikh Rashid Ahmed for provoking the people to violate the sanctity of Masjid-e-Nabvi. In a talk with APP, TTNRP Senior Vice President Maulana Sheraz Ahmed Farooqui said Sheikh Rashid was the mastermind of the incident that took place at Masjid-e-Nabvi.
He said he had approached the Secretariat Police Station for lodging the first information report (FIR) against Sheikh Rashid with a video tape of his statements given to the media outside the Election Commission of Pakistan on April 26. However, the police refused to accept the application, he added.
The Maulana demanded that Sheikh Rashid should be tried under sections 295, 295-A, 109, 296 and the Anti-Terrorism Act.Also, the World Islamic Organisation (WIO) Chairman Sheikh Mazhar Shafi Monday strongly condemned the verbal abuse of federal ministers by PTI workers in Masjid-e-Nabvi and termed it an utter disrespect to the holy mosque.
In a statement, he said the PTI workers deeply hurt the religious feelings of the entire Muslim world. He regretted that former prime minister Imran Khan did not condemn the incident, though he had been claiming to make the country like Madina-like state. He demanded Imran Khan to apologise to Almighty Allah, His Messenger (SAW) and the entire Muslim Ummah.