LHC orders release of PTI leader held in ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’

LAHORE (Agencies): The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered the release of PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar and other leaders and workers after they were detained during the party’s ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ (court arrest movement).
Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh suspended the detention orders during an open court hearing today on a petition moved the same day by PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry. The written order, said the respondents were directed to release the people mentioned in the list attached with Chaudhry’s petition “forthwith if they are not required in any criminal case”.
The petition requested that the respondents be ordered to release all political workers who courted arrest as part of the PTI campaign and that any preventive measure or order issued should be declared illegal and quashed.
During the hearing, the judge asked what was illegal about the detention of the PTI workers and leaders, adding that the party had started the court arrest movement itself. He questioned Chaudhry’s lawyer, Advocate Sikandar Zulqarnain, about the admissibility of the petition. “They are all political prisoners. It is clearly explained in the rules about political prisoners,” Zulqarnain said, adding that the court arrest movement had started as a protest and the PTI leaders had presented themselves for arrest.
Meanwhile, the public prosecutor argued that there was no proof attached to the petition that PTI workers were in custody and said he would get instructions from the authorities concerned. Justice Sheikh directed him to inform the court after taking instructions. The government counsel said that the PTI’s leaders and workers had entered custody willingly. Reconvening after a break, the judge suspended their detention orders and issued notices to the respondents for March 7.
PTI challenges detention of leaders, workers in LHC: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Friday challenged the detention, arrests of the party leaders and workers, who voluntarily presented their arrests for Jail Bharo Tehreek.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry through his lawyer Zafar Iqbal filed a petition with the Lahore High Court (LHC). The Punjab government, the secretary of the interior, IGP Punjab, and IG prisons have been made respondents in the case. Chaudhry in his plea stated that the PTI leaders and workers who presented their court arrest have been ‘detained’, which is illegal.
As per law, the deputy commissioners do not have any powers for house arrest, the plea said. The LHC has been pleaded to pass orders of the immediate release of PTI leaders and workers by nullifying the detention/arrest orders. It may be noted that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan Wednesday announced the suspension of the “Jail Bharo Tehreek” after the Supreme Court (SC) verdict on Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) polls.
Taking to Twitter, the former premier had said the party was suspending its “Jail Bharo Tehreek and moving forward with election campaigns in KP and Punjab”. It was the responsibility of the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution and they have valiantly done that through their judgment today. It is an assertion of the Rule of Law in Pakistan,” the PTI chairman wrote in a tweet.
LHC bars Punjab’s interim CM from inaugurating development projects: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday barred Punjab’s interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi from inaugurating development projects in the province.
Justice Shahid Karim heard the plea filed by Haroon Farooq to counter smog in Lahore. The judge remarked that he would award those sentence, who cut trees as smog was extremely dangerous for the residents of Lahore. The court barred the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) from cutting trees.
The judge remarked that the interim CM inaugurated the Kalma Chowk underpass which he was not authorised to do. Why the caretaker CM was in haste to inaugurate the underpass as it was still under construction, he inquired. The court, on the other hand, rejected the plea seeking a one-hour extension in the duration for keeping bakeries open in Ramazan and summoned the Planning Commission chairman while issuing him a contempt notice. Meanwhile, the judge also summoned the Punjab chief secretary and the P&D chairman in a personal capacity.