'Jail Bharo Tehreek': Courtroom bursts into laughter over judge's remarks on PTI bail plea

Shahid Hussain
A general picture of Lahore High Courts building. — AFP/File
A general picture of Lahore High Court's building. — AFP/File 

  • Shah Mahmood Qureshi's son appears in court. 
  • Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhary hears PTI's pleas.
  • Laughter erupts in court over PTI lawyer's statement. 

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday took up the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) petition seeking bail for the party leaders who voluntarily surrendered themselves to the police as a part of the "Jail Bharo Tehreek" (court arrest movement). 

A day earlier, several pleas were filed in the LHC for releasing the detained PTI leaders. 

The PTI members — including Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Azam Swati, and other senior leaders — were taken into police custody Wednesday evening near Lahore's Mall Road, on the day the court arrest movement began.

Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhary heard the PTI's pleas. During the hearing, the court inquired the petitioner's lawyer about why the party members have been arrested. 

At this, the lawyer said the party has started a "Jail Bharo" movement. 

Justice Chaudhary asked why they are playing with the courts. 

To this, the lawyer said: "We are not asking for bail, these are symbolic arrests and we are here to protect the rights of the leaders." 

The courtroom burst into laughter at the lawyer's reply. 

After this, the court remarked that "you were asking yourself to make arrests, now that they are arrested, what's the emergency?"  

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi's son, Zain Qureshi, also appeared in the court. 

"I did not get arrested but my father was and I am not allowed to meet him," said Qureshi's son

At this, Justice Chaudhary replied: "Go to a place where Section 144 is imposed, you will get arrested and will also be able to meet him."

His remarks, once again, caused laughter in the room.  

The movement, according to the PTI rationale, aims to counter the "attack on constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights" and the "economic meltdown" by the incumbent government.

PTI Lahore President Sheikh Imtiaz had claimed that 47 leaders and workers were arrested on Wednesday, however, police officials said that the number stood at around 80.