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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed journalist Imran Riaz Khan’s counsel to approach the Lahore High Court (LHC) against his arrest and disposed of his contempt of court petition against the police chiefs of Islamabad and Punjab.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah, on Wednesday, heard Imran’s petition against his arrest. It observed that the matter was beyond the IHC’s jurisdiction since he was not arrested from Islamabad.

During the hearing, Mian Ali Ashfaq advocate, the counsel for Imran Riaz, argued that the arrest was made from within Islamabad territory despite, the Islamabad police’s claim that the journalist was arrested from outside the boundaries of the federal capital.

The counsel said Imran Riaz called him and told that he was at the Islamabad Toll Plaza and he was arrested from within the limits of Islamabad.

Justice Minallah remarked every court had its own jurisdiction and the LHC can take up this matter as the arrest did not fall under the authority of the IHC. He added that the court cannot hear the matters occurring in the Punjab and the IHC’s orders only barred from arresting the journalist from Islamabad.

The IHC chief justice maintained that the IHC would not give any observations in the case unless the LHC said the arrest was made from the federal capital. He further said that if so, bring that LHC’s order before this court. He further said it was in the petitioner’s interest to approach the LHC and raise the question of jurisdiction there.

Previously, the IHC had issued orders to law enforcement authorities not to arrest Imran Riaz from Islamabad after he had filed petitions to avoid his arrest.

In his petition, the petitioner stated that he was arrested by the respondents from the territorial jurisdiction of Islamabad in violation of the order passed by this court. He argued that the act of the respondents, by no stretch of imagination, can be termed as a bona fide act in the performance of official duty rather it is an act whereby a disregard has been shown to the order of this august court.

He contended, “The respondents brought the authority of this august court and administration of law into disrespect. Their act also tantamount to obstruct, interrupt and prejudice the process of law. The act of the respondents is tainted with malafide to lower the authority of this august court.”

“It has been held time and again that executive functionaries are supposed to come into aid of the courts to foster the justice and if any act in any way resulted into disobedience of any order of the court cannot be allowed to go unchecked,” maintained the petitioner.

Imran Riaz was arrested from Islamabad Toll Plaza late on Tuesday, disregarding the fact that a court has already granted him a pre-arrest bail.

The journalist has been implicated in a slew of cases which he says were motivated by his refusal to “stop speaking the truth”. Of late, over a dozen FIRs have been registered against him on charges as serious as abetment of mutiny and criticism of the State institutions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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