IHC directs city bosses to explain PTI workers arrest

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Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the authorities to explain under which law Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code is being used to detain citizens, political workers and even Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan.
Justice Athar Minallah of the IHC while issuing notices to the Inspector General Police and the Chief Commissioner directed them to appoint an authorized officer who could appear before the court on Thursday (today) to explain the situation. The IHC is hearing a petition by the PTI MNA from Islamabad Asad Umar who has challenged imposition of 144 and arrests made under it.
He has also challenged ban on loudspeakers in the federal capital while requesting the court to remove police stationed outside the residence of Imran Khan.
Asad Umar through his counsel Farrukh Dall has submitted that the respondents taking refuge under Section 144 of Cr.P.C have made several arrests and taken into custody law-abiding citizens.
He has also argued that citizens are being denied their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19 of the Constitution.
The petitioner has cited the Ministry of Interior, Islamabad IGP, Chief Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner as respondents in the case.
The government and police are forcing people to yield to unlawful acts and give up rights guaranteed by the Constitution. This is not only “illegal, but also deprives citizens of the right to a free democracy and independent judiciary”.
The petitioner has also alleged that the fact notifications are issued only a few days prior to the protest, provided clear evidence of the politicization of the respondents. The petitioner has held that that after the government’s orders, the IGP passed verbal orders for the illegal arrest and detention of PTI workers, voters and supporters.
On October 27, the district magistrate had issued two notifications, while exercising his powers under section 144, thereby imposing a prohibition on the gathering of five or more persons and on the use of loudspeakers within the federal capital for two months.
Still hundreds of workers, members and affiliates of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were in police custody following the notifications, the petitioner held. He claimed fake FIRs were registered against them under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code and other provisions of the law. The court is to resume hearing today (Thursday).

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