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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) extended its restraining orders to the police from harassing/arresting Imaan Zainab Hazir, daughter of Federal Minister Shireen Mazari, and the Baloch students for protesting outside the National Press Club.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard Imaan Mazari’s petition, wherein, he had previously restrained the police from harassing her and the Baloch students or causing arrest pursuant to registration of the FIR registered in the federal capital for staging protest outside the National Press Club.

The IHC bench stated that the Court is, prima facie, satisfied that the FIR is liable to be quashed. It further said, “Moreover, the Court is of the view that authorities representing the federal government, by ignoring the voice and grievances of the peacefully protesting students followed by treating them otherwise than in accordance with law, have exposed themselves to be held accountable.”

“However, the Court exercises restraint pursuant to the Attorney General for Pakistan request. He assured that he would look into the matter and advise the federal government accordingly. The Court expects that the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet i.e. the federal government will reach out to the students belonging to Balochistan to hear their grievances and thereafter take effective measures to address them,” maintained the court.

It continued that they are also expected to take effective policy decisions and immediate actions to dispel the apprehension or perception of being racially profiled by the law enforcement agencies. It further said, “The injunctive order whereby respondents have been restrained from harassing or arresting persons pursuant to registration of FIR No.203/22, dated 01-03-2022, shall remain operative till the date fixed.”

During the hearing, Muhammad Shoaib Shaheen President, Islamabad High Court Bar Association informed the Court that he had visited the camp outside the National Press Club set up by the students belonging to the province of Balochistan. He stated that the students felt that they are being subjected to surveillance and racial profiling besides being ignored by the federal government.

Inam Ullah Khan, secretary, Ministry of Human Rights stated that the report was sought from the local administration because the force used, prima facie, appeared to have been excessive.

Amir Ali Ahmed, chief commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory appeared before the court alongwith Ahsan Younis, Inspector General of Police. The former assured that the matter would be probed and appropriate action would ensue.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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