LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) filed a petition at the Lahore High Court, challenging the arrests of its leaders and workers by different police stations. The workers were arrested for their active participation in a rally on July 13 to express solidarity with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was returning from London to the Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore.
PML-N leader Pervez Malik filed a writ petition at the LHC through his counsel Senior Advocate Naseer Bhutta. He told the court that copies of FIRs against their leaders and workers were not being handed over by police officials. The party leader stressed this was a sheer violation of the Constitution.
He also questioned the grounds on which police officials registered FIRs and arrested leaders and workers who were not responsible for causing any damage. He also asked what offence they committed apart from taking part in the rally.
He stressed that police officials were harassing PML-N workers, adding such actions were against the law. “It is tantamount to usurping people’s liberty,” the counsel argued. He reiterated that the people who had been taken into custody had done nothing wrong. Bhutta demanded an explanation over the arrest of the arrested workers and the role they played on July 13. He contended that police officials also harassed the workers apart from taking them into custody.
He submitted in the petition that PML-N leaders, workers and supporters were on the roads to welcome their leader who was arriving from London and to express solidarity against an accountability court’s decision which sentenced the former PM to 10 years in prison. In addition, Nawaz’s daughter Maryam was jailed for seven years and her husband Captain (Retd) Safdar for one year. He argued that the police’s decision to include Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act raised eyebrows among all concerned. He appealed to the court to direct senior officials to provide copies of the FIRs and restrain policemen from harassing party leaders and workers.
Different police stations registered FIRs against the local and top leadership of PML-N for their participation in a rally which was led by outgoing chief minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif on July 13. Some PML-N workers were granted bail in the same case, while others languished in the judicial lockup.
PML-N top leaders, who were nominated in FIRs, included outgoing prime minister Khaqan Abbasi, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz Shairf, Raja Zafarul Haq, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Maryam Aurangzeb, Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Talal Chaudhry and several others.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2018.