LHC: Show-Cause Notice to Islamabad IG in Parvez Elahi’s arrest


LAHORE, SEPT 4: The Lahore High Court (LHC) issued a show-cause notice for contempt of court to Islamabad Inspector General (IG) Dr Akbar Nasir Khan while hearing a plea for PTI President Parvez Elahi’s production in court.

On Friday, Islamabad police had re-arrested Elahi near his residence soon after the LHC had set him free with a restraining order against his possible arrest by an agency or preventive detention.

An Islamabad police team, assisted by Lahore police, had intercepted a white SUV near the FCC underpass in which Elahi was travelling with lawyer Sardar Latif Khosa to his house and dragged him into a white car with no licence plate.

Visuals of the arrest had gone viral on social media and were condemned by the Pakistan Bar Council among others.

The Islamabad police had said the former chief minister, who was later moved to Attock Jail, was taken into custody under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order.

After his re-arrest on Friday, Elahi had approached the Islamabad High Court for release while his wife, Qaisara Elahi, had filed two pleas in the LHC, seeking directions for relevant authorities to present Elahi in court and contempt proceedings against Punjab police officials on grounds of “wilful disobedience”.

Taking up Qaisara’s plea for Elahi’s production in court today, LHC’s Justice Amjad Rafiq summoned Punjab IG Dr Usman Anwar and Lahore Capital City Police Office (CCPO) Bilal Siddique Kamyana.

The plea, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, named the Punjab police chief, CCPO, the caretaker government of Punjab, the provincial home secretary, DIG investigation, DIG operations, and SP Model Town as respondents in the case.

It prayed that the respondents be directed to produce Elahi in court to the petitioner’s satisfaction that her husband was not in illegal custody. It also requested that the former chief minister be released if the court found him to be in “unlawful custody”.

At the outset of the hearing, the court summoned IG Anwar and the CCPO in person by 11am. However, the government lawyer sought time till 2pm.

“If the IG fails to appear, the court will issue an order,” the judge said.

A little after 2pm, IG Anwar appeared in court along with Punjab Advocate General (AG) Khalid Ishaq.

Addressing them, Justice said: “The purpose for summoning you is to bring facts to light.”

For his part, the Punjab said he was not responsible for the actions of Islamabad police. “I am only responsible for any contempt committed by my team.”

He told the court he would launch an investigation into the matter at hand anew. “I will get this matter fully investigated,” the Punjab IG said, seeking more time from the court to submit a reply.

Upon the court inquiring about Elahi’s whereabouts, the official expressed ignorance. Similarly, AG Ishaq also said he had no information about Elahi’s location.

The Punjab IG said Islamabad police could share information about Elahi at present.

At that, the judge observed that Elahi was kept in Attock jail.

Elahi’s lawyer, Latif Khosa, contested the Punjab IG’s statement, saying it was “based on lies”.

But, the IG maintained that Punjab police were unaware of Elahi’s whereabouts.

Later the court issued a notice to the Islamabad IG, seeking an explanation from him on why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.

The high court also directed the relevant district and sessions court judge to appear before it along with Elahi.

Contempt plea
Separately, the LHC sought a response from Lahore Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Investigation Imran Kishwar and DIG Operations Ali Nasir Rizvi while hearing a plea filed by Qaisara seeking contempt proceedings against the officials for flouting court orders and arresting her husband.

Justice Rafiq sought responses from DIG Kishwar, DIG Rizvi and LHC SSP (Security) Rana Aslam.

The judge had earlier instructed the officials to appear in court by 11am. However, a police spokesperson appeared in court and said the officers were not in town.

At that, Justice Rafiq inquired about the officials’ absence and warned of issuing a notice over their failure to appear in court. “If the officers appear today only a notice will be issued, but a show-cause notice will be issued if they appear tomorrow and then they will be indicted,” the judge said.

At 12pm, DIG Security Kamran Adil arrived in court, but the judge noted that the official had not been summoned in the case.

“We were confused about who was summoned, hence, I appeared in court,” DIG Adil told the judge. Subsequently, the judge instructed all the respondents to submit their responses in court by 2pm.

Earlier, Qaisara’s lawyer Tariq Nasrullah Warraich told the LHC that he was seated next to the PTI president on the day of his arrest. He recalled that the police had first tried to intercept Elahi’s car at Mall Road after which they were stopped by “300 masked men” near Canal Road.

At that, the judge asked if the route, via which Elahi was travelling, had been cleared beforehand.

Warraich said around “40 to 50” cars were following them, adding that three cars stopped Elahi’s vehicle and blocked it. “As soon as our car stopped, the DIG operations got out and signalled to the other men,” he said.

The lawyer added that he tried to stop the men but to no avail.

“Did an argument take place there? Did they have any orders? Were those people in police uniforms?” Justice Rafiq asked.

In his reply, Warraich said all the men were in civil clothes.

“Did they have weapons? Did you ask how dare they [take Elahi away] and that you have court orders?” the judge inquired. However, the lawyer said the entire incident took place within minutes.

Later, the Punjab IG assured the court that both officers would appear before it upon their return.

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