May 9 Riots: LHC Orders Release Of All PTI Workers, Nullifies Detention

May 9 Riots: LHC Orders Release Of All PTI Workers, Nullifies Detention
The arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) workers was deemed unconstitutional by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday, as it ordered the relevant authorities to release the prisoners.

The PTI workers and leaders from Lahore, Wazirabad, Jhang, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, Sialkot, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujarat, Nankana Sahib, Gujranwala, and Narowal were ordered to be released in the nine-page ruling by Justice Safdar Saleem Shahid.

The arrest of PTI's Punjab president Dr Yasmin Rashid has also been ruled invalid as a result of the judgment.

Following his detention in a corruption case on May 9 — a day the army termed "Black Day" — Khan's party has been feeling the heat of the state's power after his outraged workers stormed military sites, including the Lahore Corps Commanders House and the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

The PTI claimed that its female supporters have been abused in jails and that thousands of workers have been detained in relation to the incident on May 9.

The court stated in the judgment that, sadly, there was turmoil in the country on May 9 following the arrest of a political figure.

"It was flashed on the media showing people came out for agitation and demonstrations, and within minutes it transformed into an unholy mob who committed mischief at different places in the country."

The government, which was confused by the situation, "has opened a front, showing no application of mind, driven by passionate wishes, directed or dictated but not sound, and logically started dragging the common people into criminal litigation with a ratio of one in three cases or proceedings at a minimum," the court said.

The judgment said that the government attacked the miscreants while there was no law and order situation, which calls for the application of the statute pertaining to preventive detention.

"In the event of criminal activity, the government had ample time to gather the evidence and file criminal charges against the parties, allowing for the proper preparation of a defense and response to the charge—essential elements of the due process and access to justice guaranteed by Article 10-A of the Constitution."

It was the duty of the government to establish law and order, but not in the manner that was resorted to on the fateful occasion, as the order specified, as a result of the unpleasant and unexpected events of May 9 under the shadow of an uncontrollable crowd.

"Riots are suppressed with force in accordance with the law as prescribed under Sections 127 to 132 of the Criminal Procedure Code and not in the manner adopted by the government to pick and detain the citizens under the auspices of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960, without the registration of criminal cases."