The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday dismissed an application filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to present their leader Fawad Chaudhary and to declare his arrest as illegal, citing jurisdiction.
The provincial apex court remarked that since the first information report had been lodged in Islamabad, only the Islamabad High Court had jurisdiction to quash it.
Hearing the urgent application filed by the PTI on Wednesday evening, Justice Tariq Saleem did not agree with the PTI lawyer’s plea that Fawad had been arrested illegally
The court also asked Fawad’s lawyer to present evidence of any illegality in the former federal information minister’s arrest,.
Justice Saleem remarked that Fawad had been detained and then presented before a local city court to secure his transit remand as per the established procedure.
The LHC subsequently asked the PTI to approach the relevant forum –– i.e. the Islamabad High Court – to quash the FIR against their client.
‘Fawad not in Punjab Police custody’, IGP says
Meanwhile, the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Usman Anwar appeared before the LHC and told the court that Fawad was not in their custody.
The Punjab IGP said that he had attempted to contact the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police but got as far as the operator of Islamabad IG and DIG.
Punjab’s top cop added that he did not ever consider committing contempt of court and that the court could check his service record to verify his respect for the court.
He argued if he had been informed about the court’s order in time, then he would have surely implemented it.
Earlier, a heavy contingent of the Punjab police anti-riot force was deployed outside the LHC.
Fawad Chaudhry’s lawyer argues legality of arrest
Earlier, Fawad Chaudhry’s lawyer argued before the court that Fawad had not been presented before the court. Instead, he had allegedly been whisked away to Islamabad without completing formalities.
He contended that it was regrettable that the court’s order was not implemented.
The counsel noted that police had raided Fawad’s residence in Lahore’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) at 6pm on Tuesday.
“Fawad addressed the media at 5pm and the police registered a case of sedition against him at 10 pm on the same day. Police have no clarification when they completed initial investigation before lodging the FIR,” he argued.
He apprised the court that Fawad was in the Services Hospital for a medical check up when the LHC directed the police to present him before the court. He said court order was disseminated via social media platforms as well.
Meanwhile, anti-Riot Force personnel were deployed outside the LHC.
Punjab Additional Advocate General
Punjab Additional Advocate General Javad Yaqoob told the court that the grounds on which PTI was contending that Fawad had been illegally detained, did not exist.
Further, Yaqoob said that the PTI did not make the Punjab government a party in their application.
He apprised the court that an FIR was registered before the arrest of PTI leader Fawad.