IHC orders Islamabad DC's name to be placed on ECL in contempt case

Awais Yousafzai
A sign board outside the Islamabad High Court. — Geo News/File
A sign board outside the Islamabad High Court. — Geo News/File

  • IHC hears contempt case for release of detention orders under 3MPO
  • Islamabad officials face contempt charges for exceeding authority. 
  • "Arrest Islamabad DC and present him before the court," says IHC.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered the authorities to place Islamabad Deputy Commissioner (DC) Irfan Nawaz Memon's name on the no-fly list for skipping proceedings of a contempt case over the detention of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shehryar Afridi's detention under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance.

The ordinance provides the government with vast powers of detention and has been used by authorities to round up and detain PTI leaders following the May 9 riots.

Justice Babar Sattar was hearing the case against Islamabad DC and Islamabad Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Malik Jamil Zafar for exceeding their authority by issuing orders under Section 3 of the MPO.

During the hearing, SSP Operations Zafar and Superintendent of Police (SP) Farooq Buttar appeared upon being summoned by the court. At the same time, the lawyer representing Islamabad DC submitted a plea for Memon's exemption from the court.

"My client is currently in Khairpur as he has to go to perform Umrah," the lawyer informed the court. At this, Justice Sattar remarked that the court hadn't accepted the plea for exemption.

"Let the Ministry of Interior and DG Passports also ensure that the name of Irfan Nawaz Memon is placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) so that he is unable to leave the territorial jurisdiction of Pakistan," a short order released by the court stated. 

It also directed the inspector generals of police (IGPs) of all four provinces and the federal capital to "arrest" Islamabad DC and present him before the court tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9am. 

Afridi was detained by the police in connection with the May 9 violence, under 3MPO on May 16, 2023. He was released on May 30, 2023, but only to be arrested again outside the prison.

However, the PTI leader acquired bail from the Lahore High Court on July 31, 2023, but was retaken into custody a few days later by the Rawalpindi police soon after his release from Adiala jail.

He then approached the IHC via his lawyer seeking his release and for the MPO order to be set aside.

It may be noted that the court has indicted Memon and three others including, SSP Zafar, SP Buttar, and an SHO, in the case.

At an earlier hearing, the high court ruled that the federal capital’s deputy commissioner, who also acts as the district magistrate, does not have the authority to issue detention orders under 3MPO.