ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday disposed of anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan’s petition against his arrest, saying that the police took him into custody from Attock, which is “not under this court’s jurisdiction”.
Khan’s counsel had filed a petition on Tuesday night after Attock police took the journalist into custody — a move that invited strong criticism from PTI.
In today’s hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said he received a report late last night that the anchorperson had been arrested.
“Yes, Imran Riaz called and told me that he was at Islamabad toll plaza,” his counsel told the IHC, informing the chief justice that he had notified the Lahore High Court (LHC) of 17 different cases registered against Khan.
The lawyer told Justice Minallah that he has also filed a contempt of court plea in the LHC and that the police did not inform the court about the FIR that was registered last night.
“It was hidden from the court.”
At this, the IHC CJ said that each court has its own jurisdiction and the LHC can look into the matter. “Imran Riaz Khan was arrested in Attock, which does not fall under the court’s jurisdiction.”
The lawyer argued that the police violated the court’s orders.
At this, the IHC chief justice said that the Islamabad police did not arrest Khan, the Punjab police did.
Justice Minallah told the lawyer that if the LHC says that the arrest took place in Islamabad, then he could bring the LHC order to the IHC, advising him that it was in his client’s “best interest” to approach the LHC.
Wrapping up the case, the IHC chief justice directed the counsel to move the LHC.
The lawyer then thanked the IHC CJ for opening the court late at night, to which Justice Minallah said that he was always “ready to open the doors for anyone at any time”.
Imran Khan, PTI leaders condemn arrest
When the journalist was arrested last night, PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other party leaders strongly condemned the move and called for his immediate release.
“I strongly condemn the arbitrary arrest of Imran Riaz Khan by Punjab police tonight,” the PTI chairman wrote on Twitter.
“The country is descending into fascism just to make our nation accept an imported government comprising of mega crooks. It is time for everyone, especially the media, to unite [and] stand up against this fascism,” he added.
In his tweet, PTI leader and ex-special assistant to the prime minister Gill said that Imran has been arrested for “standing with the truth”.
Condemning the arrest, former planning minister and PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said “the expression of one’s opinion is countered with another’s arguments, not with arrests”.
Meanwhile, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the “fascist government in the country is using third-grade tactics to stifle critical voices against it”.
Sharing a video of the anchorperson after being arrested, PTI’s central secretary of information Farrukh Habib said “a difference of opinion cannot be suppressed by such show of force”.