IHC bars authorities from arresting Imaan before informing court

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has barred authorities from arresting human rights lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir in any case before informing it.

The order was issued by Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb while hearing petition of Imaan on Monday.

Imaan and former lawmaker Ali Wazir were arrested last month and criminal cases were registered against them by Tarnol police and Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) police station.

On August 28, Imaan was granted bail in the sedition case but was re-arrested within hours by the Islamabad police in connection with a freshly filed terror case. An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had remanded her in police custody for three days.

On August 30, the IHC barred police from arresting Imaan in any case registered after August 20 — when she was first arrested. On September 2, she was granted bail in the terror case and was released.

At the outset of hearing today, Justice Aurangzeb took up Imaan’s plea seeking the details of the FIRs registered against her and protective bail. The plea was filed last week.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Munawar Iqbal Dogal informed the court that after the previous hearing, he had written to the provinces seeking the details of the cases against Imaan, as well as communicated the same over fax and WhatsApp.

“The petitioner should not make such statements,” the AAG added, referring to Imaan’s speech during the PTM rally.

At this, Justice Aurangzeb said, “We are disposing of the case. If there is any [new] FIR, then you will inform the court.”

Iman was granted bail in the case registered by Bahara Kahu police station on Saturday.

The petition

In the plea filed last week, Imaan had sought “protective omnibus bail” to allow her to approach the relevant court for “bail before arrest and take part in the investigation”.

The plea made the state, the Islamabad inspector general, city senior superintendent of police, Adiala Jail superintendent and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) respondents in the case.

She requested the IHC to direct the respondents not to “arrest, harass or restrict” her liberty and take any adverse measure for a period determined by the IHC. She also requested the court to direct the respondents to provide details of all cases registered against her in Islamabad and the rest of the country.

The petitioner submitted that she feared that she might be arrested in any other case because unknown number of FIRs might have registered against her.

It stated that police had “mechanically arrested and re-arrested Ms Hazir without ascertaining if her detention serves any purpose to furthering the investigation, especially where two courts have already granted her bail.”

The plea also recalled a previous verdict wherein, it said, the court had ruled that “no separate FIR is to be recorded for any new version of the same incident”.

The petition noted: “This is precisely the situation that Ms Hazir faces whereby like clockwork, a new FIR, which was unbeknownst till such time, surfaces and prompts the police into arresting her.”

It also claimed that on August 20, when Imaan was presented before a judicial magistrate, he had struck down Section 395 (punishment for dacoity) from one of the two initial FIRs registered against her, “noting that the contents of the FIR do not constitute the said offence”.