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Pakistan

Islamabad High Court bars govt from arresting PTI leaders

  • Justice Minallah issues notice to the interior secretary to ensure court's orders are implemented
Published May 2, 2022

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday ordered the government not to arrest members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership in connection with several cases filed against them over the Masjid-e-Nabwi incident, Aaj News reported.

Taking up the petition filed by PTI's legal team, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah told the interior secretary to make sure that the PTI leaders were not arrested by the police or any other investigation agency.

Earlier on Monday, PTI had filed a petition in the IHC following the registration of multiple cases against PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other party members over the Masjid-e-Nabwi incident.

The petition was filed by PTI's legal team, Advocate Faisal Fareed, and Advocate Ali Bukhari on behalf of senior leader Fawad Chaudhry. It requested the IHC to issue directions to state authorities, the police, and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), to “immediately stop the unlawful and illegal harassment of Fawad and his colleagues”.

Case registered against Imran Khan over incident at Masjid-e-Nabwi

The petition also called for placing all the FIRs registered against the PTI leadership in various parts of the country on record and urged the court to hold the action of the FIA and the police as "illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional".

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Secretary Ministry of Interior Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, FIA Director-General Muhammad Tahir Rai and police chiefs of all provinces were made respondents in the petition.

Last week, PM Shehbaz Sharif’s delegation was greeted with derogatory slogans from Pakistani pilgrims on their arrival at the Masjid-e-Nabwi in Madinah.

Videos of the incident went viral on social media where Federal Minister for Narcotics Control Shahzain Bugti appeared to be harassed, while Federal Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb endured verbal abuse.

The cabinet was on an official visit to the Kingdom, the prime minister's first foreign trip since assuming the role.

Following the incident, Qazi Muhammad Tariq Advocate registered an FIR at New Airport Police Station under sections 295 (harming or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult a religion), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 296 (disturbing religious assembly).

Along with former PM Imran, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Fawad, Shahbaz Gill, and Murad Saeed were also named in the case.

Masjid-e-Nabwi incident: Another case registered against PTI chairman

As per the lawsuit, the incident was carried out under a “planned and thought-out scheme and conspiracy” by a group headed by Sheikh Rashid that went to Saudi Arabia and was joined but another group from Britain, headed by PTI member Sahibzada Jahangir that included Aneel Musarrat, Nabeel Musarrat, Rana Abdul Sattar, Amir Ilyas, Ejaz Haq and Gohar Jilani.

The registered cases also stated that the incident hurt the feelings of Muslims.

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