Shah Mahmood Qureshi 'detained' under 3-MPO despite bail in cipher case

Qureshi's 15-day detention aimed at ensuring "public safety" in light of his alleged role in May 9 riots

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, deputy head of PTI, speaks with the media in Islamabad on May 10, 2023. — AFP
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, deputy head of PTI, speaks with the media in Islamabad on May 10, 2023. — AFP
  • PTI leader due to be released today after securing bail in cipher case.
  • Detention order issued under 3-MPO over involvement in May 9 riots.
  • Move aimed at ensuring "public safety", reads the DC's notification.

RAWALPINDI: Days after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi secured his much sought-after bail in the cipher case, the former foreign minister was detained on Tuesday after a detention order was issued instead of letting him walk free today.

The order, issued by Rawalpindi deputy commissioner under the Maintenance of Public Order (3-MPO), alleges that the PTI leader was involved in instigating violence in the May 9 riots — which saw military installations being vandalised across the country — and that his release might endanger public safety.

"It is probable that after his release from jail, he will again continue his above activities which may lead to a law and order situation, harmful to the life and property of the general public," read the order.

The development comes as the senior politician was "likely" to be released today after a three-member Supreme Court (SC) approved his and PTI founder Imran Khan's bail in the cipher case on December 22.

The apex court ruled that the discretion exercised by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in declining bail to the petitioners was exercised perversely.

Qureshi's 15-day detention is to come into effect from Qureshi's "entrance in Centra/District jail to avoid any likelihood of breach of peace/unlawful assembly in the district."

The decision to detain the senior politician comes after Rawalpindi's District Intelligence Committee endorsed the central CPO's recommendation seeking the prevention of the PTI leader's "unlawful activities and [him] acting in a prejudicial manner to public safety".

The detention order comes as a major blow to the PTI which was looking forward to Qureshi's release as it could've given a major boost to the party ahead of the upcoming elections slate for February 8, 2024 — in light of Khan's incarceration and a host of leaders parting ways with the party.

Taking to social media, Meher Bano, Qureshi's daughter, confirmed that her father has been detained under the 3-MPO order.

However, the PTI's vice-chairman is not the only one to be "detained" under the 3-MPO as hundreds of such detention orders have been issued against PTI leaders and members across the country for alleged involvement in the May 9 violence — triggered after the arrest of former party chief Khan in a graft case — which saw military installations including the Ralwapindi's General Headquarters (GHQ) and Lahore's Corps Commander's House being vandalised across the country.

This is not the first time Qureshi has been detained in the said issue as a first information report (FIR) — also cited by the said detention order — has been registered against Qureshi over the May 9 incident for which he has been arrested before as well.

After much ado, the release orders of the PTI leader were delivered to the administration of Adiala jail — where the politician is detained — by officials of the special court formed under the Official Secrets Act 2023, to hear the cipher case.

Earlier in the day, PTI leader's lawyer Barrister Taimur Malik along with Bushra Bibi, the wife of PTI founder, lawyers Umair Niazi and Rai Muhammad Ali attended the cipher case hearing conducted by Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain in the Adiala jail.

Speaking to the media, Qureshi’s counsel revealed that he had received a copy of the apex court’s order approving the PTI leader’s bail plea, adding that the hearing has been adjourned till tomorrow.

"We will present the release order in the Adiala Jail today," he had said.

Lamenting that his client “unjustly” spent two days, Malik said that they have submitted the surety bonds in the court.

Commenting on the administrative hindrances preventing Qureshi’s release, the lawyer highlighted that they have requested the court to issue the politico’s release order.

However, he revealed that they would be leaving for Islamabad after they were told that the release order would be issued there — as the relevant judge had left for the federal capital.

He further added that they would approach the apex court if the release order was not issued today.

In a statement made later in the day, the lawyer said that the process for securing the release orders had been completed and they were waiting for the judge's signature.