After day in custody, Shireen Mazari returns home

IHC orders her immediate release, urges govt to form judicial commission to probe incident

Breaking News - Shireen Mazari ko fori riha karne ka hukum de dia - SAMAATV

After spending much of the day in the custody of police and anti-corruption officials shuttling between the federal capital and Lahore, former federal human rights minister returned home early on Sunday morning

Her return came after the Islamabad High Court extraordinarily opened its doors after office hours on Saturday to hear a petition, filed by her daughter Imaan Zainab Mazari, and ordered her immediate release along with a probe into the incident by a judicial commission.

On Saturday afternoon, uniformed officers from the Kohsar police station in the federal capital, along with officers of Punjab’s Anti-Corruption Department in Dera Ghazi Khan had intercepted and arrested Mazari from near her home in Islamabad.

Police said that she had been arrested in a case of land grabbing.

Mazari’s daughter, Imaan, who is a lawyer, had told the media and posted a tweet on microblogging site Twitter, claiming that her mother had arrested by male members of the police while they had also allegedly beat her.

With Mazari’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announcing nationwide protests, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz ordered the police to release Mazari.

Mazari’s return

With the IHC ordering the government to produce Mazari before it by 11:3pm, the court room and the courtyard of the IHC was buzzing with several senior members of the PTI including Fawad Chaudhry, Qasim Suri, Hammad Azhar and others as they waited for Mazari’s return.

Shortly before the 11:30pm deadline given by the court, Mazari was brought back to the federal capital and produced before the court.

Emotional scenes were witnessed in the court grounds when Shireen Mazari stepped out of the police vehicle and was embraced by her daughter Imaan.

Other female PTI leaders also hugged Mazari upon seeing her after hours of arrest.

Shireen Mazari was welcomed in the courtroom with claps by PTI leaders and workers.

Late night hearing

Shortly after 11:30pm, the Islamabad High Court held a hearing over the former federal minister’s arrest from Islamabad.

Mazari told the court her mother’s mobile phone had been seized, and that she was not allowed to contact anyone as per her rights.

“I do not know to which institution does the person belong to who seized my cell phone.” the PTI leader told the court, adding that she was not even allowed to go to the washroom and her nails were broken.

“The people who arrested me said they would probably take me to Rajanpur,” she said, adding that the vehicle carrying her stopped near Chakri and the personnel said they wanted to take her for medical examination.

Advocate General Jahangir Jadoon said that the Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz immediately ordered Mazari’s release when he learned about the incident.

Imaan Mazari pleaded with the court to carry out judicial investigation of the incident to which the advocate general also agreed.

IHC chief justice felt sorry at what happened with the PTI leader. However, he reminded that some of the worst cases of enforced disappearances were witnessed when Mazari served as the human rights minister.

He asked if the permission had been sought from the national assembly speaker before arresting Mazari, adding that the PTI members are still enjoy the status of lawmakers as they have yet to be de-notified from the assembly.

IHC chief justice ordered the newly appointed Inspector General of Islamabad Police to ensure that all belongings of Mazari are returned, including her cell phone.

Declaring the former human rights’ minister’s arrest as illegal, the court adjourned the case until May 25.

Mazari accuses Shehbaz, Sanaullah

Talking to the media after her release outside the court, Mazari thanked the high court for taking timely notice of the incident.

Claiming that she had been assaulted by officers, Mazari said that her captors told her that they had received their orders from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to arrest her.

The ex-minister claimed that her cellphone has yet to be returned, adding that it seemed that the people who had snatched her phone were probably from law enforcement agencies.

Claiming that she had been subjected to an enforced disappearance, Mazari said she had objected to such enforced disappearances during her tenure as federal minister, and had even visited the camps of the victims’ families.

Earlier on her way to the courtroom, Mazari told the reporters that her car was stopped by the Kohsar police personnel, and she was pulled out and dragged away by them.

When asked if she was booked due to her recent tweets against the institutions, the former minister responded that ‘it could be’.

She also said that her cell phone was confiscated and had not been returned yet.

Earlier, the court has also summoned the federal interior secretary, Attorney General, Islamabad Police IG, and deputy commissioner.

The anti corruption team that arrested Mazari had reportedly left for Dera Ghazi Khan with Mazari but it was made to return.

Petition

Earlier in the day, the court reopened after the end of regular hours to hear an urgent writ petition filed by Mazari’s daughter Imaan Zainab, through PTI lawyers under Article 199 of the Constitution.

The clause allows a petitioner to move a high court for the enforcement of fundamental rights.

The PTI counsels in their petition pleaded that the court issue an order for the production of Shireen Mazari.

After the hearing, PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry said that IHC chief justice had sped up the justice process which was a welcome step.

He said PTI’s lawyer’s wing had played a key role on Saturday after Mazari’s arrest.

Fawad claimed that Mazari’s arrest was linked to PTI’s planned announcement of a long march on Islamabad.

In response to a question about Hamza Shahbaz Sharif’s order for the release of Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry said whether Hamza Shahbaz was a king who could first order the arrest and then the release.

‘Mazari a furious critic of rights violation’

The petition says that Shireen Mazari was “forcibly taken away by some unknown people from the street” and that Koshar Police Station had “no information whatsoever with regard to any FIR or criminal complaint” about her arrest when Eman Zainab arrived there.

The FIR also implicated law enforcement agencies saying it was well-known that Mazari was “furious critic of the violation of Human Rights in the hands of the law enforcement agencies.”

*More to follow … *

shireen mazari

islamabad high court

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