‘Where is Fawad?’: LHC summons IGs of Islamabad and Punjab – Pakistan

Punjab Advocate General (AAG) Chaudhry Muhammad Jawad Yaqub on Wednesday told the Lahore High Court (LHC) that PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry — who was arrested earlier today for “inciting violence against a constitutional institution” — was in the custody of the Islamabad police.

He made the revelation after LHC’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh repeatedly instructed the provincial government to produce the PTI leader in court.

Key developments:

  • Fawad arrested from outside his residence early Wednesday morning
  • FIR registered by ECP official at Islamabad’s Kohsar police station for “inciting violence against a constitutional institution”
  • Lahore Cantt court allows police to take Fawad to Islamabad
  • Fawad says if criticism is rebellion then the entire nation should rebel
  • LHC directs police to present Fawad in court
  • Fawad’s wife calls on CJP to take suo motu notice of arrest
  • Imran to address press conference at 4pm
  • LHC summons IGs of Punjab and Islamabad in court by 6pm
  • Punjab government tells LHC Fawad is in the custody of Islamabad police

The former federal minister was taken into custody early Wednesday morning after an FIR against him was registered at Islamabad’s Kohsar police station by an official of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for “threatening” the electoral body’s members and their families.

According to Fawad’s brother, the former federal minister was “taken away” in four cars that did not have any number plates at 5:30am. Faisal Chaudhry said that the family was unaware of Fawad’s location at the time.

“We are also not being given any details of the FIR registered against him,” he said. Faisal, who is also a prominent lawyer, termed his brother’s arrest “illegal” and asserted that he will fight this battle in court.

Later, the PTI leader was brought to Lahore’s Cantt where the judicial magistrate granted police Fawad’s transit remand.

Separately, a petition was filed in the LHC by Advocate Muhammad Ahmad Pansota against the arrest. The application — a copy of which is available with Dawn.com — named the Punjab government, provincial police officer, counter terrorism department, deputy inspector general of police (operation) and station house officer of Defence A as respondents in the case.

It said that the PTI leader was apprehended “illegally, unconstitutionally and without legal authority” and demanded that police officials should be directed to recover Fawad from the “illegal and unlawful confinement” and produce him before the high court.

At the outset of the hearing today, Justice Sheikh instructed the police to present Fawad in court by 1:30pm.

However, when the proceedings resumed at 2pm, AAG Yaqub said that he was not in the position to tell where Fawad was.

On the other hand, PTI lawyer Azhar Siddique told the court that they had just learnt that Fawad was being taken to Islamabad.

“The orders that I give, I make sure they are implemented,” Justice Sheikh said here. “Even if he [Fawad] has reached Islamabad, bring him back and present him before the court.”

In his response, the AAG said that he will ensure that the court’s orders were executed and sought some time.

Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned for 30 minutes.

When it resumed, the judge inquired: “Where is Fawad?”

The AAG replied that Fawad was in the custody of the Islamabad police after which Justice Sheikh summoned the inspector generals of Islamabad and Punjab to court.

“The IGs of Islamabad and Punjab should appear in the court by 6pm,” he said and instructed the LHC registrar to immediately communicate the orders to them.

video message shared on PTI’s official Twitter account after the hearing, Fawad said that if criticism was rebellion then the entire nation should come out on the streets.

“They have registered this case on charges of contempt against the election commission […] this is their attitude and they expect us to not even criticise them.

“Rebellion is a duty. All the 220 million people in the country should come out and rebel against this system otherwise your children will suffer too,” he said.

“Today, Imran Khan and the PTI are standing up for your rights. We are going to jail but these handcuffs are like jewellery to us […] god willing, we will emerge victorious from these trials.

“But it is the nation’s job to come out and change the system,” Fawad added.

speech outside PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s house, threatened the ECP and said that “those who become part of the caretaker government [in Punjab] will be pursued until they are punished”.

Later in a tweet, the Islamabad police said that Fawad tried to “incite violence against a constitutional institution” and “inflame the sentiments of the people”.

It added that the case will be processed as per the law.

said Fawad had been taken to the counter-terrorism department’s regional office in Lahore, as PTI leader Ali Muhammad Khan said that he is not a terrorist.

Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Fawad’s arrest was a “strong slap on the face of democracy and rule of law”.

Ex-human rights minister Shireen Mazari called the FIR registered against Fawad “ridiculous” and asked: “How is criticising ECP decisions and even ECP members a call to violence against their families? SC decisions are criticised but ECP decisions can’t be?”

PTI’s Ali Zaidi also strongly condemned the arrest of the senior party leader and said the government was “hell-bent on pushing this country towards anarchy!”

“Pakistan has become a lawless state at the hands of these lawbreaking lawmakers and corrupt law enforcement officers,” Zaidi tweeted.

On Tuesday night, a number of PTI supporters gathered outside the former premier’s Zaman Park residence after party leaders claimed that the government had formed plans to arrest Imran Khan.

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