Decision reserved on Fawad’s plea for video link hearings

Ex-PTI minister appeals for consolidation of cases amidst arrest concerns

Our Correspondent May 28, 2024
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry addressing a press conference in Islamabad on April 16, 2023. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB


A division bench of the Lahore High Court, headed by Justice Farooq Haider, has reserved its decision on a plea submitted by former PTI federal minister Fawad Chaudhry.

The plea seeks directives for trial court judges to conduct hearings of Chaudhry’s multiple cases through video link.

Fawad Chaudhry also requested the court to direct Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Usman Anwar, to refrain from arresting him in any additional cases.

He sought permission to file pre-arrest bail in all pending cases where arrests have not yet occurred and to be allowed to seek recourse through the courts for filing pre-arrest bail in the event of any new cases.

Chaudhry contended that he apprehends efforts to prolong his incarceration through either pending or fabricated new charges, a practice he claimed violates Articles 4, 9, 14 and 17 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973.

He emphasised that he has been in custody for over four months, including 41 days of physical remand. He argued that the absence of due process and the arbitrary exercise of authority by the respondents constitute a violation of his fundamental rights.

Detailing his ordeal, Chaudhry stated that on November 4, 2023, he was arrested under a false and baseless case (FIR No: 466/2023) registered hours after his arrest. He remained in police custody on physical remand until November 8, 2023, in the mentioned case and also exhausted physical remand in FIR No: 23/23 ACE Rawalpindi. He is currently under remand in NAB custody.

He highlighted that he has endured 41 days of physical remand with police, Anti-Corruption, and NAB authorities.

Furthermore, he has been implicated in 32 allegedly false and frivolous cases across Punjab through supplementary statements. Chaudhry noted that while he has obtained bail in some cases, others have been canceled.

Chaudhry stated that he filed an application before the Anti-Terrorism Court, requesting that he be treated according to the law and that arrests against the cases registered against him be incorporated. However, his efforts were to no avail. Consequently, he argued that there is no other adequate, efficacious, or effective remedy available but to invoke the constitutional jurisdiction of the High Court.

He asserted that his inalienable right to be treated in accordance with the law, under Article 4 of the Constitution of Pakistan, is a paramount consideration. This right cannot be violated or taken away by the respondents, who are duty-bound to act within the four corners of the law to ensure the mandate of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The applicant, under Article 10-A read with other enabling provisions of law and the Constitution, has a fundamental right to a fair trial and due process.

Chaudhry emphasised that the court has a constitutional duty to uphold these rights in both letter and spirit.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2024.


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