Asad’s wife approaches court for his release

LAHORE (Agencies): Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf general secretary Asad Umar’s wife has filed a separate petition for her husband’s release. A petition for Asad’s release has already been filed in the court challenging his arrest by the Punjab police. In the fresh petition, Asad Umar’s wife Sofia Fatima made Lahore Deputy Commissioner, CCPO, IG Jail Punjab, and Superintendent of Jail parties and held them responsible for Asad Umar’s illegal arrest.
She in her petition maintained that PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced Jail Bharu Tehreek, a symbolic drive for the supremacy of the Constitution. It is apprised to the court that Asad Umar is the general secretary of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf. Asad Umar along with other PTI leaders and activists gathered at Charing Cross, The Mall of Lahore on February 22.
The Police crackdown on them and detained Asad Umar and others illegally. Later the police shifted Asad to Dera Ghazi Khan jail in a vehicle with prisoners. It is held that PTI arrested leaders should have been produced before the respective judges as per law, but the police did not. Police detained Asad Umar on the instructions of the Deputy Commissioner, she alleged in her petition. She further said, “It has come to know that the Deputy Commissioner has illegally issued the detention order.” She added that she had tried to meet her husband in prison to enquire about his health but the lawmen did not allow it. Sofia Fatima added that Asad Umar is a law-abiding citizen, not involved in anti-social activities. His detention should be declared illegal and released.
PTI’s petition seeking recovery of arrested leaders irks LHC: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has expressed reservations over pleas seeking the release of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leaders and workers presently under voluntary arrest. Justice Shehram Sarwar remarked as he headed the proceedings, “First you people decided to voluntarily offer arrests, boarded prison vans with your own consent and now you have come to increase the court’s burden seeking recovery.”
It may be noted that the arrests were offered by several PTI leaders and workers as part of the party’s ‘Jail Bharo’ movement — a drive that seeks to mark a protest against the government’s policies and to put pressure on the government to announce elections. The petitioners senator Ijaz Ch, Syeda Nuria Humaira Rafique wife of Waleed Iqbal, and others filed petitions requesting the court to direct the concerned quarters to produce the PTI’s detained leadership, including “Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Umar Sarfraz Cheema, Azam Swati, Waleed Iqbal, Murad Rass and several others before the court after recovering them from illegal detention of the respondents”.
As proceedings commenced, Justice Shehram asked how and when were the leaders and workers taken into custody. To which the counsels responded that more than 100 PTI leaders and workers have been kept in illegal custody. They submitted that those detained had been taken into custody as part of the movement offering voluntary arrests in a bid to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution. Justice Shehram asked Zain Qureshi if his father, prominent leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, had also been arrested. Urging the court to allow the family to meet the former foreign minister, Zain Qureshi confirmed that his father was indeed under arrest. “You can go to Chairing Cross if you wanted to meet him,” Justice Shehram remarked.
Zain Qureshi responded that the family had done so but were told that “their arrests were not made”. One of the lawyers requested the court to seek a report on the matter from the provincial government. “What report should be sought?” the judge asked. The counsel argued that neither was due process followed in the arrests nor were the arrested individuals presented before any court of law. Upon this, the judge said that “your concern is why your leaders and workers have been taken away from Lahore, in that case, you should have requested the home secretary to put them under house arrest instead”. The counsel pleaded with the court to seek replies from the concerned authorities and continue hearing on the matter today. However, the court rejected the request. Nonetheless, Justice Shehram sought replies from concerned quarters by February 27.