LHC resumes hearing plea seeking Imran Riaz’s release today

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) will resume hearing on a petition seeking release of anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan as the journalist’s whereabouts remain unknown for the fourth day on Sunday.

On Friday during hearing of the case, LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti had ordered the police to produce a video record of anchorperson Imran Riaz release from Sialkot jail after the anchorperson’s mother informed the court he was ‘still missing.’

According to legal team representing Imran Riaz in LHC, the anchorperson was arrested by the Punjab police under the Maintenance of Public Order rules — which allows preemptive detentions to ensure law and order — at the Sialkot airport on May 11 — two days after violent protests broke out across the country following PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest — and taken to the Cantt police station.

He was later shifted to the Sialkot prison.

“During this time, his family had no contact with him and after certain rumours started making rounds on social media, the family filed a writ petition in the LHC on the morning on May 12.

“During the hearing, the honourable chief justice directed the attorney general to present Riaz in court by afternoon the same day,” he said.

However, when the hearing resumed the Punjab IG Police told the court that Imran Riaz was arrested at the airport while trying to fly abroad and shifted to jail as the district government issued his detention order.

The officer informed the apex court that later the government withdrew the detention order after the anchorperson submitted an affidavit and he was subsequently released from jail. The court, however, expressed displeasure over the statement and directed the official to submit CCTV footage of the journalist leaving Sialkot jail.

Now, the court will resume hearing the case on Monday (today) and his family is hopeful about either Imran Riaz will be released or brought to court.

The LHC chief justice had warned the officials that the court could take strict action if the police or jail authorities tries to mislead the court.

On the other hand, the PTI has also raised concerns over the “disappearance of Imran Riaz”.

In his first video message after release a day earlier, Imran feared that Riaz would be tortured just like Azam Swati and other PTI leaders. “We also fear that he will be killed … and if anything happens to him the same will be responsible … those who killed Arshad Sharif.”

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