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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed the district administration to release the detained workers and activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the order while hearing a petition filed against harassment of PTI members by police.

An earlier order issued by Justice Minallah stated: “The Deputy Commissioner and the Inspector General of Police are further directed not to unnecessarily harass nor deprive citizens of their right to liberty. They are also directed to submit the plan prepared in the light of the directions given by the august Supreme Court.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, the IHC chief justice asked why they were being harassed unnecessarily despite the court’s directives.

Islamabad’s deputy commissioner responded that the political party had asked for permission for a “long march”. He asserted that the party was denied permission after the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) received information from a foreign agency that some elements might attack the party.

He added that some reports had also been received which said the participants of the PTI march might carry weapons with them.

The court then asked how many PTI activists had been taken into custody thus far. At this, the deputy commissioner said that about 70 workers had been detained in Islamabad.

Chief Justice Minallah said that as long as someone had not committed any offence, harassment based on suspicion alone could not be allowed. “You should take a bond from them and release them.”

He then ordered that the 70 PTI workers be released on a surety bond and said if there was a case against anyone, the court should be informed on Thursday (today).

The same IHC bench directed former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to appear before the court to get an extension in his protective bail.

During the hearing of the case, the counsel representing Sheikh Rashid said that since his client was more than 70 years old he should be exempted from appearing before the court.

At this, Justice Minallah said the court had granted Mr Rashid a protective bail and if he wanted an extension to it, he should appear before the bench.

Later, the bench deferred the hearing in this matter till Thursday (today).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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