The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday disposed of journalist Imran Riaz Khan’s petition again against his arrest, saying that the case did not fall within its jurisdiction.
The court advised the petitioner to approach the Lahore High Court (LHC) as Khan was arrested from Attock, which is “not under this court’s jurisdiction.”
On Tuesday night, Attock police arrested Khan on the outskirts of Islamabad while he was headed to acquire pre-arrest bail from the IHC in a treason case registered against him.
Dawn cited sources as saying that “a contingent of the Attock police supported by a team of the Elite Force took the journalist into custody and moved him to the Attock City Police Station.”
“They said a case was registered against the journalist at the city police station on June 25 under sections 505-1(C) (statements conducing to public mischief with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community), 505 (2) (whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement or report containing rumour or alarming news with intent to create or promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), and 109 (punishment of abetment if the Act abetted committed In consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment) of the Pakistan Penal Code and six different sections of the Prevention Of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016.”
In a video recorded at the time of his arrest, Khan said, “It makes no difference whether they imprison me or kill me or whatever they do… I think we should continue performing our duties… I am requesting all journalists to raise your voice and keep doing your jobs.”
The IHC CJ told his lawyer that the arrest of Imran Riaz Khan in Attock does not fall under the jurisdiction of this court
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) July 6, 2022
“You have taken my [bulletproof] car and weapons, registered 20 FIRs against me, now you want to arrest me as well, go ahead and arrest me,” he said before surrendering.
The journalist’s legal team filed a contempt petition in the IHC naming the police chiefs of Islamabad and Punjab as respondents.
Subsequently, Justice Athar Minallah took late-night action and issued notices to the Islamabad police chief and chief commissioner and told them to appear before the high court.
But during the hearing, Justice Minallah remarked that every court had its jurisdiction and “c.” He said the IHC couldn’t investigate issues about Punjab.
The journalist’s counsel argued that the IHC’s orders against arrests had been violated, adding that it was Islamabad police, not Punjab’s, that had arrested Khan.
But Justice Minallah reiterated that “the court had talked about arrests in Islamabad. Khan was arrested outside the court’s jurisdiction.”
He added that “you can bring the order here” if the LHC ruled that the arrests were made in Islamabad.
With input from Dawn