The Islamabad High Court (IHC) disposed of a contempt of court petition on Wednesday filed over the arrest of senior journalist Imran Riaz, the other night, and directed the petitioner to approach the relevant forum.
Lawyers Mian Ali Ashfaq and Qadeer Janjua appeared before the IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah. The chief justice said that it had been reported to the IHC registrar last night that the Punjab police had made the arrests from within the Punjab province.
The petitioner’s lawyer said that Imran Riaz had said that he had been arrested from Islamabad Toll Plaza. However, the federal police officials told the court that the journalist was arrested near the Islamabad Toll Plaza.
The lawyers for informed the court that 17 cases were registered against Riaz across Punjab, while four cases had been registered in the last four days. But there was the 18th first information report (FIR), which was not mentioned earlier.
The chief justice said that only the Lahore High Court (LHC) could raise these questions in this case. The court observed that the petitioner was currently in Attock, therefore, it was not the jurisdiction of the (IHC).
This court could not investigate the Punjab police, the chief justice told the petitioner. Only the LHC could declare the arrest illegal, he added. The court further said that if the arrest was made from Islamabad, then it would have been the jurisdiction of the IHC.
The petitioner’s lawyer said that cases against Riaz had been registered in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa but their polices did not make any arrest. The chief justice said that the Islamabad police had not violated the orders of this court.
The petitioner’s lawyers said that a contempt of court petition had also been filed in the LHC but one FIR has been hidden. Now the question was whether the Punjab police made the arrest from Islamabad Capital Territory or from the Punjab police.
The court disposed of the petition. The lawyer thanked the chief justice for opening the court last night. Chief Justice Athar Minallah replied that that the court was ready to listen to any petitioner at any time.
Talking to the reporters after the hearing, lawyers Ali Ashfaq and Qadeer Janjua said that they had filed a petition against the arrest of Riaz last night and the court had summoned a report on the matter. The lawyers said that the question remained whether the arrest was made from Islamabad or Punjab.
They further said that the arrest was made in case registered in Attock on June 29. Now that the Punjab police admitted to the arrest, then it was not the jurisdiction of the IHC. Responding to a query, the lawyers said that they had approached the LHC and sought details of the FIRs lodged against Riaz across the country.
On June 4, they added that the inspector general of Punjab police reported 17 cases. The case filed on June 29 was not mentioned in the June 4 report, they said, adding that the arrest was made in the same case, which was hidden by the Punjab IG. The lawyers said that it didn’t matter how many cases were lodged but this hide-and-seek with courts must stop.
The lawyers said that Imran Riaz was produced in a local court in Attock, adding that if the Punjab police had taken responsibility for the arrest and produced him in the court in Attock, then it did not fall under the jurisdiction of the IHC.
They announced to move the LHC on the matter. They also said that they would file post-arrest bail application.
FIA official told the court that offences included in FIR against @ImranRiazKhan do not attract cyber crime clauses and police falsely made out the case. Yet the judge did not free Imran Riaz Khan pic.twitter.com/I8l7TkKpEm— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) July 6, 2022
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