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IHC Indicts Islamabad DC, 3 Police Officials for Contempt

Officials plead not guilty to charges of obstruction of justice, abuse of authority over arrests of PTI leaders under MPO

by Staff Report

Farooq Naeem—AFP

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday indicted Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon and three police officials in a contempt case over the arrests of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Shehryar Afridi and Shandana Gulzar under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance.

Afridi was initially arrested from Islamabad on May 16 under Section 3 of the MPO Ordinance and was released on court orders on May 30. However, he was re-arrested shortly after his release. He was then granted bail by the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Aug. 3, but was re-arrested by the Rawalpindi police shortly after his release. His lawyer subsequently filed a petition in the IHC seeking his release and dismissal of the MPO Order. Gulzar was arrested on Aug. 9, with her mother subsequently filing a case seeking her release.

On Aug. 16, the IHC had ordered the release of both Afridi and Gulzar and announced it would indict the DC and SSP for contempt over the re-arrests in violation of court orders.

In today’s hearing, IHC Justice Babar Sattar heard the replies of the DC and SSP Jamil Zafar, with Islamabad Advocate General Ayaz Shaukat appearing as the prosecutor. During proceedings, Shaukat offered an unconditional apology to the court on behalf of the accused. To this, Justice Sattar said the “accused should spend some time in jail to understand the severity of their actions.”

Both Memon and Zafar then pleaded not guilty to the charges of obstruction of justice and abuse of authority and offered unconditional apologies. Both apologies were rejected by Justice Sattar, who reiterated the case carried a maximum sentence of six months’ imprisonment.

The court also indicted SP Farooq Buttar and SHO Naseer Manzoor with contempt of court. Both police officials denied the charges against them.

A day earlier, the IHC had stripped the Islamabad district magistrate of his powers to detain suspects under the MPO while hearing the same case.

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