The Lahore High Court on Tuesday restrained the provincial police from arresting or detaining social activist Dr Ammar Ali Jan till the court reaches a decision on a petition challenging the detention order issued by Lahore's deputy commissioner.
“In Pakistan, influential people will not let allow their rivals to move freely by misusing 'detention orders'," said LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan. He added that a person can not be detained on the basis of an FIR being registered as per an earlier order by the country's top court.
Jan had sought suspension and the striking down of the impugned order passed by Deputy Commissioner Muddassar Riaz Malik on November 26, 2020, for preventive detention of 30 days from the day of arrest under the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 for being in violation of articles 4, 9, 10, 17, 19, and 25, among others, of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.
The chief justice inquired from the law officer if the petitioner had a prior criminal record. Jan's counsel, Hina Jillani, said Jan had been implicated in a forged case merely to humiliate him.
The law officer informed the court that two cases had been registered against the social worker. The counsel then implored the court that the petitioner is being 'trapped' on the basis of assumptions and he had no involvement in any unlawful activity.
Remarking that judgements do exist from superior courts regarding detention on the basis of an FIR, the chief justice said the order passed by the provincial capital's deputy commissioner is against the norms of the Constitution.
Jan, in his petition, had prayed upon the court that the detention order was passed in an arbitrary and whimsical manner without applying reason.
After the Students Solidarity March in November 2019, a case of sedition among other offences was registered against Jan. Prior to the said case, another FIR was registered against him in February 2019. Both the cases implicated the petitioner in similar offences, especially speech-related offences such as sedition.
After the registration of the first FIR, Jan was arrested from his residence on February 9, 2019. In the second case, the social worker was again granted pre-arrest bail.
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