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LHC summons Punjab, Islamabad IGPs after police fail to present Fawad

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LAHORE:– The Lahore High Court (LHC) has summoned the Punjab and Islamabad IGPs over police failure to produce senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry in court on a plea challenging his overnight arrest by the Islamabad police.

A petition was filed in the high court, challenging Fawad Chaudhry s arrest for “threatening” the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) members and their families. The petition was subsequently taken up by LHC’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh. During the hearing, the court instructed police to present Fawad in court by 1:30pm.

The PTI stalwart was taken into custody in the wee hours of Wednesday after he was booked under sections 153A, 506 and 124 A of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint lodged by Election Commission of Pakistan Secretary Umer Hameed.

The judge had earlier asked police to present Mr Chaudhry in court at half past one but police refused to comply without a written order. As the court took up the case, Justice Sheikh asked the law officer about the whereabouts of the PTI leader. As the additional advocate general told the court that police had already taken the petitioner to Islamabad, the judge expressed his annoyance and remarked that “the court knows how to have its orders implemented”.

The judge gave police time till 6pm to produce Fawad Chaudhry failing which, he said, he would take an action.

In a short media talk earlier, the PTI leader said security had been placed in a way as a “terrorist” was being brought to court, adding that he was unaware of the charges levelled against him. He also urged people to take to the street against the government. He said former South Africa president Nelson Mandela had also been booked in a sedition case.

The sudden arrest of Mr Chaudhry has angered the PTI leaders including Hammad Azhar and Farrukh Habib who warned of launching countrywide protests and moving court against it.

The FIR

The PTI leader, according to the First Information Report (FIR), has been booked under sections 153A, 506 and 124 A of the PPC for allegedly threatening the ECP and its members in a televised interview on Tuesday. The FIR carries the excerpt of the former MNA’s statement wherein he alleged that the election commission had become a “Munshi” as the election commissioner signed things like a clerk after they were sent to him by the government.

Mr Chaudhry said those who would be involved in injustice to the PTI would be pursued until they were punished. He said people should pursue the elements who were deceiving public, to their houses. Expressing reservations about the appointments of some officials in the ECP Punjab ahead of elections, he said if these appointments were not rolled back, “we warn that the election commission and its members will have to pay back”.

 

The complainant said Fawad Chaudhry had threatened the chief election commissioner, members of the ECP and their families in his speech which he described as an attempt to create hurdles in the electoral process.

 

“The speech has created a permanent threat for the ECP members and their families,” he said, adding that the PTI leader had attempted to create differences between the government and the ECP. “It is a serious crime to influence the electoral process by issuing threats to the constitutional institutions,” he said, adding that such statements could lead to chaos in the country.

 


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