Police violating law with impunity: IHC

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has granted one-week protective bail to former lawmaker Ali Wazir, while directing the secretary interior to hold an inquiry against all delinquent officials and officers engaged in successive arrests of citizens in violation of law laid down by superior courts.

“I feel the need to observe that the principles of law enunciated by the Hon’ble Lahore High Court (LHC) in the cases of Abdul Sattar Khan Niazi and Razia Pervez [that deal with successive arrests] appear to have been brushed aside by the Islamabad Police.

“The practice of successive arrests deprecated by the superior courts is being carried out with impunity in the federal capital,” said a 9-page order issued on a petition filed by Wazir.

The order, authored by Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, said secretary interior was placed under a continuing obligation to conduct inquiry against all delinquent officials and officers, who indulge in the malpractice of successive arrests of citizens in stark violation of the law laid down by the superior courts.

Wazir, who was arrested on August 20 for allegedly interfering in the state matters days after a rally of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) in Islamabad, soon found himself also booked under sedition charges in a separate first information report (FIR).

A trial court granted him bail on August 30 but police rearrested him soon after his release under another FIR registered on August 26 at Islamabad’s Bhara Kahu Police Station under Sections 420 and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 11N of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

A trial court granted him bail also in the case registered on August 26 but the authorities rearrested Wazir in another undisclosed case right after his release.

When the IHC asked authorities to present a list of all the FIRs registered against the petitioner in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), the state counsel presented a list of four FIRs.

However, on September 18, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed the court that it had also registered an FIR against Wazir on September 11 under Sections 9 and 10 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 read with Sections 500, 505 and 109 PPC and arrested him on the basis of the same.

Wazir’s lawyer expressed his apprehension in the IHC that if his client was released in the FIA case, he might be arrested in another case registered in Oct 2020. When the IHC summoned the investigation officer in the case, he confirmed that he intended to arrest Wazir if he was released in the FIA case.

The IHC, however, granted the former lawmaker protective bail, while restraining authorities from arresting or aiding in the arrest of the petitioner upon his release from custody.

“The instant petition seeking protective bail is allowed so as to enable the petitioner to appear before the trial court in (i) FIR No.1398/23 registered at Police Station Taxila, Rawalpindi, (ii) FIR No.85/20 registered at Police Station Tarnol, Islamabad.

“The said restraint will operate for a period of one week from today i.e. up to 26.09.2023 so as to enable him to appear before the learned Trial Courts for obtaining pre-arrest bail,” it said.

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