Islamabad DC indicted for ‘abuse of powers’ in PTI leaders’ arrest case

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) indicted on Thursday the federal capital’s district commissioner in a case pertaining to the arrests of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders under Punjab Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).

Justice Babar Sattar took up the contempt plea pertaining to the arrests of PTI leaders Shehryar Afridi and Shandana Gulzar, who were released in August after being detained in the immediate aftermath of May 9 riots.

The PTI leaders spent months in jail, remarked Justice Sattar. “You may spend some time in jail as well,” he added, chiding the relevant officials.

Islamabad DC Irfan Nawaz and SSP Operations Jameel Zafar submitted their explanatory reply while ICT Advocate General Ayaz Shoukat appeared before the court as prosecutor.

Indicting the relevant officers for abuse of powers, Justice Sattar asked whether the accused had heard the allegations and reminded that the charges were read out before them in the open courtroom.

In response to a question by the court, SSP Zafar sought some time to present his defence.

The court also indicted SP Farooq Battar and later appointed Qaiser Imam as the prosecutor in the contempt plea related to the case.

The IHC had earlier suspended the detention orders issued for Afridi and Gulzar under Section 3 of the MPO, noting that the authorities had failed to satisfy the court that there existed an objective basis to detain the PTI leaders.

The court had directed the authorities to set the politicians free and bound both the PTI leaders to not leave the terroritorial jurisdiction of the IHC without permission while the matter is sub-judice.

It had further restrained the authorities from arresting them in any other case.

The court had observed that the high court had annulled the MPO against Afridi in June but the district magistrate issued another order based on a ‘source report’ illegally. It further noted that once the MPO issued by the Rawalpindi DC expired, another MPO was issued by the Islamabad DC.

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