Thursday, May 18, 2023
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday declared the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law “illegal” and ordered his release.
The directives were issued by IHC’s Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb while hearing a petition challenging Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s arrest.
The court while issuing the release orders directed the PTI leader to submit an undertaking similar to the one given by former state minister Ali Muhammad Khan.
Qureshi’s lawyers informed the court that they would submit the undertaking after consulting the PTI leader.
Qureshi was among the top PTI leaders arrested from Islamabad within 24 hours of the outbreak of violent protests by PTI workers following former prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest — as the government tightened the noose around the party.
He was taken into custody in the early hours of May 11 after the police raided Gilgit-Baltistan House in Islamabad under Section 3 (3MPO).
The former foreign minister was arrested by the police in cases of riots and arsons in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, police said back then.
However, before his arrest, the PTI leader encouraged party workers to continue their struggle for "true freedom" in the country.
"As a foreign minister of Pakistan, I defended Pakistan's interests at every forum. I have been in practical politics for 40 years," he said.
Qureshi added that he has no regrets and has not made any provocative statements that could lead to lawsuits. He was confident that the PTI's movement will reach its destination.
The IHC has also ordered the release of PTI leader Shehryar Afridi’s wife, who was also arrested under the MPO.
Afridi's wife was presented before in the courtroom of Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir during the hearing today. During the proceedings, the Islamabad IG informed the court the suspect and her husband were involved in the attack on General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
Meanwhile, the judge admonished the Islamabad police chief and told him to take actions after taking advice from his legal team.
The Islamabad deputy commissioner was also summoned before the court and told the judge that Afridi and his wife were arrested on the information received from the Special Branch.
The crackdown against the PTI leaders doen't seem to slow down as despite the authorities concerned and police have been arresting and re-arresting party leaders despite them securing bails from the high courts.
A day earlier, party chief Khan also condemned the “detentions and abductions” of party workers and leaders as "totally illegal" in a strongly-worded tweet.