Court allows Afridi, Shandana to go home

ISLAMABAD (PPI): Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday allowed PTI leaders Shehryar Afridi and Shandana Gulzar to go home and announced that it would indict the city deputy commissioner and a senior superintendent of police (SSP) for contempt of court.
Shehryar and Shandana were arrested in connection with the May 9 violence. Shehryar was in detention under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance while Shandana was allegedly kidnapped by police. The decision comes a day after the IHC had issued show-cause notices to DC Ifran Nawaz Memon, Inspector General Dr Akbar Nasir Khan, the city chief commissioner and other police officials for “criminal contempt of court for abuse of authority to obstruct dispensation of justice and cause diversion to the course of justice”.
The court had sought written replies from the officials “as to why they should not be punished for obstruction of justice”. Shehryar was arrested on May 16 from his Islamabad residence under Section 3 of the MPO Ordinance, 1960. He was rearrested on May 30 under the same section soon after his release from prison.
On Aug 3, Afridi was granted bail by the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench but was again arrested by the Rawalpindi police from Adiala jail. A petition was subsequently filed by his lawyer in the IHC calling for his release and for the MPO order to be set aside.
Shandana was “allegedly” abducted by the Islamabad police on Aug 9. Her mother filed a petition in the IHC for “illegal arrest” and violation of Articles 4, 9, 10A and 14 of the Constitution, calling for police to produce her daughter in court. IHC’s Justice Babar Sattar took up pleas and sought responses from various officials who were summoned.
DC Memon appeared in the court to represent the district magistrate while IG Khan and the chief commissioner were also present. The PTI leaders were presented in the court as well along with their counsel Sher Afzal Marwat. Justice Sattar found the replies of DC and the SSP “unsatisfactory” and decided to indict both officials for contempt of court in the next hearing.
He also asked the IG to submit the names of the station house officer (SHO) and the district police officer (DPO) concerned and ordered show-cause notices to be issued to both police officials. Suspending the MPO orders, Justice Sattar barred the PTI leaders from going outside the limits of the capital and issuing statements on media till the finalising of the case. “If anything happens to any of them, then the IG and the chief commissioner will be responsible for it,” Justice Sattar observed. Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned for two weeks.