IHC orders govt to conduct judicial inquiry over Shireen Mazari's arrest

Daughter Imaan Zainab confirms arrest of her mother: Ex-human rights minister held in land fraud case by DGK special anti-corruption team: Fawad terms her arrest as kidnapping

By: News Desk
Published: 03:34 PM, 21 May, 2022
IHC orders govt to conduct judicial inquiry over Shireen Mazari's arrest
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The Islamabad High Court Saturday ordered federal government to conduct a judicial inquiry into the arrest of PTI leader SHireen Mazari and also ordered her immediate release, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The IHC CJ, noting that the arrest was apparently “illegal”, ordered the immediate release of Mazari and asked the authorities to return the ex-federal minister’s phone to her.

The police Saturday night brought arrested PTI leader Shireen Mazari to Islamabad High Court on the direction of Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Athar Minallah.

"I still did not get my phone," Mazari told journalists after arriving at the court, as police officials had reportedly taken her cellphone at the time of her arrest.

The ex-federal minister claimed that the police did not show her the arrest warrants before taking her into custody, adding that she believes PML-N, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah were behind her arrest.

At the outset of the hearing, Inspector-General Islamabad Muhammad Ahsan Younas told the court that he assumed office today.

IHC CJ told the inspector-general that no member of the National Assembly (MNA), belonging to the PTI, has been de-notified yet and the court has already issued a directive that no MNA should be arrested before informing the NA speaker.

“There is one Constitution and the court runs on that Constitution […] the IG will have to take responsibility; I cannot say that the [court’s] registrar is responsible,” the IHC CJ said.

The IHC CJ censured the deputy commissioner (DC) Islamabad and remarked how can someone else take such action in the federal capital. To this, the DC Islamabad replied that nobody from another province could carry out such activities in the federal capital.

The chief justice remarked that the court will not compromise on its jurisdiction. Later, the IHC CJ questioned the non-completion of the probe into the abduction case of the journalist Matiullah Jan.

The deputy attorney general said that they could not work 24/7 and replied that they will complete the probe into the Matiullah Jan abduction case.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Saturday evening directed authorities to produce former federal minister and senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari before it at 11:30pm today.

Punjab’s anti-corruption department had arrested PTI leader Mazari today afternoon, but hours after the authority's move, Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz ordered her immediate release.

The former human rights minister was taken into custody in a case related to the encroachment of a piece of land in District Rajanpur.

In a three-page order, IHC CJ Athar Minallah said: "The authorities shall explain under what authority of law the fundamental rights of Dr Shireen Mazari were violated while she was within the jurisdiction of this Court."

The IHC's order comes after the PTI leader's daughter, Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, filed a petition against her mother being "illegally abducted by officials of the Punjab Police".

The court noted that the ex-federal minister was not de-notified as a member of the National Assembly, therefore, her arrest was not in line with the law as before any MNA's arrest, the NA speaker should be informed.

The case against the PTI leader was filed at the request of Deputy Commissioner Rajanpur, after which, the Anti-Corruption Establishment Punjab registered the FIR.

Mazari is accused of encroaching upon a piece of land. A complaint was lodged against her on March 11, 2022, while AC Rajanpur was directed to inquire into the matter. The official concerned prepared the report of the case on April 8 and in the light of this, the Anti-Corruption Establishment registered a criminal case under its Rules 2014.

Following the arrest, the PTI moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and announced to hold country-wide protests later today.

Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry posted a tweet denouncing Mazari’s arrest saying: “Shireen Mazari was picked up from inside her house and was subjected to the worst kind of torture. We will not call it an arrest rather we will call it kidnapping. If this is the proclamation of war on part of the government, then we also declare war against the government.” 

In response to the incident, former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan said Mazari was "violently abducted from outside her house by this fascist regime".

The PTI chairman noted that Mazari was strong and fearless and if the "imported government" thinks it can coerce her by this "fascism, they have miscalculated!"

PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar also condemned the incident. "Things never seem to change in the land of the pure. Shireen Mazari is my neighbour & a dear friend. Her arrest is deplorable and worst form of political oppression. People who have gone through it themselves & have cried foul in the past, why would they indulge or turn blind eye?"

PPP MNA Nafisa Shah stated: "Arresting #ShireenMazari, who has no allegations against her is uncalled for, wrong! Who has ordered her arrest and why?"