IHC stops govt from arrest of Fawad Ch, Shahbaz Gill

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Case against PTI leaders in Masjid-e-Nabwi incident

Zubair Qureshi
Islamabad

The Islamabad High Court while allowing a petition on Monday, a designated holiday, directed the federal government to refrain from any act of harassment or adverse action against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in last week’s Masjid-e-Nabwi incident.

In another petition, the court directed the FIA not to arrest ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan’s close aide Dr Shahbaz Gill on his arrival from abroad.

The Islamabad High Court has been targeted by the PTI for accepting petitions at night but on Monday (that has been declared an Eid holiday in Pakistan) it was the PTI itself that requested the court to take up its petition on urgent basis to which the court consented.

Justice Athar Minallah along with the staff reached the court and after hearing the petition ordered the Secretary Ministry of Interior and the respondents to make sure that no harassment is caused to the petitioner nor coercive adverse measures are taken against him till the next date fixed i.e. May 9.

In his petition Fawad Chaudhry informed the court through his counsel that cases were registered against the PTI leadership under the country’s blasphemy laws.

These cases were registered after some Pakistanis chanted slogans at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his delegation during their visit to the Masjid-e-Nabwi.

The PTI leader said the incident was a spontaneous reaction and reflected public anger while the government claims it was planned and orchestrated by the PTI leadership.

Fawad said the newly appointed interior minister Rana Sana Ullah in the Shehbaz Sharif-government had been targeting the PTI leadership and also “openly threatened” them with dire consequences.

He said that through “reliable sources”, he had come to know that the incumbent government had decided to teach him and other PTI leaders “a lesson they must not forget”.

Fawad alleged that Rana Sana had ordered the police and the FIA to have him and other PTI leaders nominated/booked in false criminal cases registered in various parts of the country.

The petition noted that one FIR had been registered in Faisalabad while applications had been filed in Burewala and Islamabad.

The petition further noted that when the unfortunate incident occurred, the PTI was celebrating 27th of Ramadan at an event organized at the house of Chairman Imran Khan which was also shown live across the country.

In another petition filed the same day, the IHC restrained the authorities from arresting Imran Khan’s close aide Shahbaz Gill upon his return to Pakistan.

The petition stated that Gill had been falsely implicated in several FIRs to “harass, pressurize, blackmail and humiliate”.

The petition also stated that Gill was ready to appear before the court to prove his innocence but was prevented from doing so as the current government was bent upon arresting him at any cost.

Gill’s lawyer Advocate Faisal Chaudhry told the court that his client was in the US when the incident occurred. On Justice Minallah’s question when he would return, Chaudhry replied that the PTI leader had left for the US on April 28 and would return on May 4.

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