News Desk |
Irfan Siddiqui, an ex-adviser to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was sent to Adiala jail on a 14-day judicial remand in a case related to violation of tenancy act.
The veteran columnist was arrested on the charge that he violated provisions of the tenancy law by failing to inform police before renting out his house.
The tenant, identified as Javed Iqbal, was also arrested and a case under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code – a bailable offence – was registered against the two at Ramna police station, Islamabad
Both were presented in handcuffs in the court of Magistrate Mehreen Baloch, who sent them on a two-week judicial remand.
Without delay, Siddiqui’s lawyer filed an appeal for post-arrest bail which would be heard on July 29.
The opposition party Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) has strongly condemned Siddiqui’s arrest and unfair treatment by police officials.
Party vice president Maryam Nawaz Sharif termed the arrest a “baseless and absurd” act by the government, while former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal referred to it as “political victimisation” by government.
کسی بھی قوم کا سر شرم سے جھکانے کے لیے یہ مناظر کافی ہیں۔ یہ ایک استاد ہیں۔ انکے ہاتھ میں آج بھی قلم تھا۔ pic.twitter.com/wHrAvsQHVJ
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) July 27, 2019
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb claimed the case against Siddiqui was fake and demanded his immediate release.
She said the tenancy agreement was not under Siddiqui’s name and the arrest was made on the basis of false information, as the house was owned by the former adviser’s son.
“The house was rented out by Siddiqui’s son on July 20,” she told reporters in Islamabad.
Many senior analysts have also condemned Irfan Siddiqui’s arrest.
عرفان صدیقی سے آپ اختلاف کر سکتے ہیں لیکن انہیں قانون کرایہ داری کی خلاف ورزی کے الزام میں گرفتار کر کے ہتھکڑی لگانا اور جیل بھیجنا قابل مذمت ہے اچھا ہوا کچھ ارباب اختیار کے بارے میں رہی سہی غلط فہمی بھی دور ہو گئی واقعی بڑے عہدوں پر بہت چھوٹے لوگ براجمان ہو چکے ہیں اللہ خیر کرے pic.twitter.com/I3ANlhMRLD
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) July 27, 2019
Irfan Siddiqui's arrest, on this flimsy pretext, is very problematic; Govt needs to understand that creating fear & control through such tactics has never helped; Pakistani politics is different from middle east https://t.co/wHjLgy4ZZd
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) July 27, 2019
However, from the government side, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Siddiqui was arrested under a law introduced by the previous PML-N government.
She said the PTI government follows a strict policy of non-intervention in the affairs of state institutions and had nothing to do with the former adviser’s arrest.
Though, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan admitted that handcuffing the veteran columnist was an unnecessary step and said the government will find out who was responsible.
It is pertinent to mention here that over the past six months, the Rawalpindi police has detained 734 suspects and registered 385 different cases for violation of the Tenancy Act under the National Action Plan (NAP).