The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued directives on Wednesday for the release of Shehryar Afridi and Shandana Gulzar Khan, prominent leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, who had been held under the provisions of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
The court has stipulated that Afridi must remain within Islamabad and has further instructed the Islamabad inspector-general of police (IGP) and the deputy commissioner (DC) to guarantee his safety and security.
Afridi was initially apprehended shortly after the disturbances on May 9, and subsequently re-arrested on May 30 under the provisions of Section 3 of the MPO Ordinance 1960. Following his release on bail from Adiala Jail after obtaining relief from the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench, Afridi was once again taken into custody by Rawalpindi Police earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Gulzar was reportedly “taken” into custody by Islamabad Police on August 9. Following this, her mother approached the IHC, filing a petition citing an “unlawful arrest” and the violation of Articles 4, 9, 10A, and 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Both individuals were presented before the IHC by the concerned authorities. The court has revoked the detention orders under the MPO and has issued instructions for their release.
Furthermore, Afridi has been instructed not to make any public statements on the matter while it is under judicial consideration. The court has also requested affidavits from IGP Akbar Nasir Khan and DC Irfan Nawaz Memon.
During the proceedings, Justice Babar Sattar inquired about the evidence supporting the claim mentioned in the magistrate’s arrest order, which suggested that Afridi was involved in a plot to launch an attack.
In response, DC Memon stated that the Intelligence Bureau had provided information indicating that Afridi might be planning an attack on the district court.
Justice Sattar further questioned whether DC Memon had considered questioning the credibility of the source claiming that Afridi was inciting people while in detention.
In response, the deputy commissioner of the federal capital explained, “I rely on the intelligence agencies for information. The Special Branch also submitted a report [against Afridi].”
Similar statements were made by DC Memon regarding Khan’s arrest. The court has directed the IGP and the chief police commissioner of Islamabad to ensure her safety following her release.