- IHC had ordered the interior secretary to produce Mazari before the court at 11:30 pm
Senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari reached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday night, hours after she was arrested by a team of Anti-Corruption Establishment Punjab, Aaj News reported.
Earlier, IHC had ordered the interior secretary to produce Shireen Mazari before the court at 11:30 pm tonight.
In a three-page court order, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said: "The authorities shall explain under what authority of law the fundamental rights of Dr Shireen Mazari were violated while she was within the jurisdiction of this Court."
Earlier on Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz ordered the immediate release of Shireen Mazari.
"As a woman, Shireen Mazari should be respected," Hamza said in a statement. "The arrest of a woman is not in line with our social values."
"Following the investigation, if the arrest is unavoidable then the law will take its course," he said, adding that "the PML-N, as a political party, believes in respecting women."
Similarly, following Mazari's arrest, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said that her party will "never engage in vindictive politics."
"Details of the case against Shireen Mazari are not yet known," Maryam said while talking to PML-N's social media team in Lahore.
She, however, noted that "PTI cannot play a victim card in this case," saying that Mazari was arrested by female police officers.
Mazari was apprehended outside her residence in Islamabad sector E-7. A team from Anti-Corruption Establishment Punjab had been waiting outside the former minister’s house in a bid to arrest her as soon as she left.
Islamabad Police said they facilitated the arrest as members from Islamabad Police were also present at Mazari’s residence.
Taking to Twitter, Mazari’s daughter Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir confirmed the arrest, saying that “male police officers have beaten and taken my mother away. All I have been told is that Anti Corruption Wing Lahore has taken her”.
Speaking in a press conference, she said that she was unaware of the whereabouts of her mother and the present government apprehended her without any reason.
“The government considers women a soft target hence my mother was taken away,” she said.
Later, Islamabad police released a statement, rejecting reports that Mazari was mistreated. "Dr. Shireen Mazari was arrested by female police officers as per the law on the request of the anti-corruption department. News of any mishandling is baseless," the capital police said on its official Twitter account.
Reacting to Mazari's arrest, PTI chairman Imran Khan said “our senior party leader Shireen Mazari has reportedly been violently abducted from outside her house by this fascist regime. Shireen is strong and fearless, if the imported government thinks it can coerce her by this fascism, they have miscalculated!”
He underlined that PTI’s movement is completely peaceful but the “fascist imported government wants to push the country towards chaos. As if sending the economy into tailspin wasn't enough, they now want anarchy to avoid elections.Today we will protest and tmrw after CC meeting I will announce our Long March.”
PTI members and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry condemned the incident, highlighting that Mazari was beaten. Speaking at Kohsar Police Station, where she was taken, he said that there are widespread rumours that she would be transferred to Lahore or DG Khan. “This is not an arrest. This is clear case of kidnapping. Right now, we have no news of her whereabouts.”
In a tweet, he said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will hold protests all over Pakistan against the unlawful arrest of Dr Shireen Mazari.
“Workers are requested to begin protest from 7 pm today,” he said.
PTI leader Azam Swati was of the view that Mazari was being transferred to DG Khan however, he stated that he would visit PTI central office to confirm where she is being taken.
“The determination of Pakistanis know no bounds,” he said. “If anything happens to Mazari, the government will lose its credibility all over the world.”
In a tweet, PTI member Iftikhar Durrani condemned the arrest and directed party members to immediately reach Police Station Kohsar, where Mazari has been taken.
Commenting on the arrest, former law minister Babar Awan said that the government has proved that no one was safe in their hands.
“Anarchy and civil war are its main targets,” he said in a tweet. “Dr Mazari was beaten and dragged by public officials. The crime minister wants to repeat the Model Town incident in Islamabad.”
Pakistan Peoples Party leader and senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar condemned the incident and said that things never seem to change in the land of the pure.
“Shireen Mazari is my neighbour and a dear friend,” he tweeted. “Her arrest is deplorable and worst form of political oppression. People who have gone through it themselves & have cried foul in the past why would they indulge or turn blind eye?”
According to its website, Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Punjab “is an attached department of Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD), government of Punjab. It is dedicated to nip corruption in the bud from the provincial government departments and services.”
“In order to bar the white collar crime; on one side, it bears the responsibility of eradication of corruption by multidimensional flow of information and awareness among general masses, while reacting against corrupt practices on the other side, within the government parameters,” the website says.
Earlier PTI MNA Alamgir Khan’s house was raided in Karachi but he was not at home. PTI leaders protested the police raid and have submitted an application against it.
Meanwhile earlier on Saturday, a search operation was conducted by the Islamabad Police near former PM Imran Khan’s residence in Bani Gala after the PTI chairman received death threats. The operation team consisted of a bomb disposal squad as well.