PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday put the director general and director investigation wing of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission on notice to submit their written replies over the arrest of Minister for Mines and Mineral Development Ziaullah Afridi.
A division bench comprising Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Irshad Qaiser issued the notice while hearing a petition filed by Ziaullah’s brother, Hidayatullah Afridi. The court fixed July 23 as next date of hearing.
The PHC was informed by Latif Afridi and Muazzam Butt, counsels for the accused, that Ziaullah was arrested on July 9 in a case involving misappropriation of funds and misuse of authority. They added no record or proof of embezzlement was produced.
“When the detainee was holding the ministry, he ordered a check on illegal and irregular mining and about 350 cases were registered against offenders,” read the petition. “Senior officials threatened him of dire consequences.”
According to the petition, Ziaullah’s arrest was an attempt to misguide the public. It added the minister’s detention was a direct result of his reservations over the illegal policies of the provincial government.
“The arrest of the minister, when viewed in terms of Sections 38 and 36(5) of the Ehtesab Commission Act 2014, is not justified,” stated the petition. “The minister is neither absconding nor has he obstructed the court from investigation.”
According to the petition, the proceedings against the minister were illegal as the Code of Criminal Procedure does not apply to such proceedings under the K-P Ehtesab Commission Act 2014. “The existence of the accountability body itself was questionable,” it added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2015.