ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday issued a notice to the Islamabad Inspector-General of Police Dr Akbar Nasir Khan seeking an explanation on the reason behind re-arrests of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders defying court orders.
The IG has been asked to submit his response to the notice by Monday (May 22). The court, on the other hand, also issued a notice to the Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan in the matter.
The notices were issued during the hearing of multiple pleas seeking contempt of court proceedings against police officials following the re-arrest of the PTI leaders including PTI Senior Vice-President Dr Shireen Mazari, Ali Muhammad Khan and Maleeka Bukhari after they were granted bail.
Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb heard the pleas.
The three politicians were re-arrested after being granted relief by the IHC which asked authorities not to arrest them again. However, they were apprehended by the Punjab Police.
Mazari was taken into custody on Wednesday night — the same day when she was released by a local court; while Khan and Bukhari, too, were re-arrested and have been kept in the Adiala Jail.
‘Govt trying to defeat the court’s writ’
During the hearing of Shireen Mazari’s plea, Justice Aurangzeb expressed concern over the cases being registered and came down hard on the government for trying to “defeat the court’s writ”.
“Why was Shireen Mazari handed over to the Punjab Police, despite court orders,” the judge questioned the politician’s re-arrest in contravention of orders issued by the court.
Commenting on the matter, the AGP said: “This should not have happened.”
Justice Aurangzeb asked the IG if the Punjab Police was called in deliberately knowing very well that they themselves have been ordered by the court not to arrest the PTI politician.
“The Punjab Police cannot arrest anyone directly from Islamabad. In hindsight, the Islamabad Police cannot separate itself from it,” the judge observed.
He then turned to AGP Awan and instructed him to bring the matter of the police’s disregard of the court order before the country’s highest authorities.
“Our power lies with you. Place the matter before the highest authority,” the judge told AGP Awan.
Justice Aurangzeb added: “The writ of the court is the dignity of this country, and no one is justifying the violent incidents.”
In response, the attorney general said: “This country has to be run according to the Constitution. The courts and all constitutional bodies have to work within the [framework of the] Constitution.”
The judge then commented: “This time will pass but its effects will remain.”
“We say this is a civilised country,” he remarked, “but what is happening with court orders does not prove we are civilised.”
Justice Aurangzeb observed that a campaign was being launched against courts.
“These courts are here to deliver justice according to law,” he said, adding those who are running the campaign were availing relief from the courts in the past.
He further added that, unlike politicians, the judges can’t do talk shows and defend themselves on media.
During the hearing, Justice Aurangzeb got emotional and noted: “We are here only for service.”
In response, the lawyers in the courtroom reiterated their commitment to the IHC and said: “We are with the court.”
When Bukhari and Khan’s plea was being heard, the government’s lawyer contended that the court’s order was implemented.
After their release, Khan and Bokhari were arrested again in other cases, he said.
The petitioner’s lawyer said: “We have seen a video clip in which Ali Muhammad Khan is being put in a car by police officials as soon as he comes out of Adiala Jail.”
The court then adjourned the hearing till May 23 (Tuesday).
‘No one can defeat writ of court’
Following the court proceedings, the attorney general, while talking to media personnel outside the IHC said: “No one can defeat the court’s writ.”
A reporter then commented: “Despite the court’s bar, arrests still took place.”
The AGP responded that according to his information, the Punjab government passed the orders of arrest under the Maintenance of the Public Order (MPO) law.
“It is a provincial matter; I am looking at how it was executed from the jurisdiction of the federal capital.”
He then said the order for re-arrest was given by the Punjab government and that the court could see the legal aspect of the order passed by the provincial authorities.
“If the province orders detention, Islamabad police is bound to hand them over,” he remarked, adding that according to the law, the Punjab police can arrest anyone from Islamabad.
He then said: “The matter of arrests is in the court, so I cannot talk more.”
The attorney general further said that the matter of MPO is in the Lahore High Court.
“Whether they are legal or not is for the court to decide.”
Speaking on the matter of negotiations between the government and PTI, the attorney general said that a lot of efforts were put in by the former to hold the negotiations.
“In April, PTI was brought to the negotiation table after a lot of efforts; however, it is unfortunate that the negotiations were interrupted by the PTI.”
He said that the government had asked the Supreme Court on May 2 to continue the negotiations, and had conceded on a number of demands put forward by the PTI.
IHC seeks details of cases against Asad Umar
In another hearing, the IHC sought details of the cases filed against PTI Secretary General Asad Umar by Monday.
Justice Aurangzeb heard the PTI leader’s petition against arrest under 3MPO, seeking details of cases filed against him. The politician was taken into custody on May 10 by the anti-terrorist squad.
During the proceedings, PTI leader and Advocate Babar Awan appeared in the court on behalf of the petitioner.
He argued that the details of the number of cases registered against Umar should be provided, and said that the court should schedule the cases for hearing on Monday.
Justice Aurangzeb, responded with a joke and asked: “Do you want to enjoy your weekend here?”
The court then accepted the plea and issued notices to the parties involved, adjourning the hearing till Monday.