The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued a show-cause notice to the Inspector General (IG) of Islamabad Police for contempt of court after the latter arrested Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi from Lahore on Friday.
The Attock sessions court judge was directed to recover Elahi from the Attock jail and present him in court in Lahore on Tuesday.
The Islamabad police had arrested Elahi shortly after the LHC had ordered his release and barred his arrest in any other case. However, the Islamabad Police arrested him under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance.
A single-member bench of the LHC led by Justice Amjad Rafique on Monday heard a petition filed by Qaisara Elahi. Punjab Inspector General of Police Dr Usman Anwar, among other senior police officers, appeared along with Punjab Additional Advocate General Ghulam Sarwar appeared.
During the hearing, Justice Rafique further directed a session court in Attock to recover Elahi from the Attock District Jail and present him in the court in Lahore on Tuesday.
Justice Rafique asked IGP Dr Anwar why two of of his officers, Punjab Police DIG Ali Nasir Rizvi and Imran Kishwar, did not appear despite specific instructions.
Dr Anwar explained that both of them were in Karachi and would return by Tuesday evening.
The court then asked the Punjab police chief rhetorically that someone had robbed your house, do you know of it?
The Punjab IGP responded in the affirmative. He went on to explain that they had received information from the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) about a threat against Asia Cup matches in Pakistan, which is why the two officers were not present.
On Parvez Elahi's arrest, the court asked who had whisked him away and under what law.
IGP Dr Anwar responded that officers of the Islamabad Police took him away under clause three of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
The court asked whether there was any order from a magistrate for the arrest. At this, the police official asked the court for some time and that he would answer all of the court's questions.
The court added that if anyone from the Islamabad Police comes across provincial lines on official business, they must be in uniform. The IGP said that he would extract the mobile location of all the officers who came and submit it to the court.
The court asked why Punjab Police's Rizvi did not ask the officers of the Islamabad Police about the court order to arrest Elahi, but he did not say anything. The court asked the Punjab IGP to take departmental action against the officer involved.
Justice Rafique asked if the order of a magistrate from Islamabad was implemented why were orders of the high court not implemented.
"Even if Parvez Elahi was arrested per a legal order, then the high court's order makes it illegal," Justice Rafique stated, adding that it was the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that had the right to implement an order to arrest Elahi.
If the IHC declares the arrest illegal, then Elahi will be free, Justice Rafique stated.
When the court asked where Elahi was currently, the Punjab advocate general stated that Elahi was currently outside the jurisdiction of Punjab.
At this, the court asked whether the police even knew where Elahi was?
The Punjab IGP admitted he had no knowledge of Elahi's whereabouts. At this, the court observed that if Elahi is in Attock jail, then he remains within Punjab's territorial boundary and thus within the court's jurisdiction.
At this point, Latif Khosa told the court that he was an eyewitness to Elahi's arrest, adding that once they reached Canal Road, the police asked him to get out of the convoy, and people clad in plain clothes arrested Elahi from his car.
"Elahi kept asking to be shown a search or arrest warrant, but his pleas went in vain," Khosa said and accused the police chief of lying to the court.
Justice Rafique observed that this was not just a contempt of court but a contempt of civil and criminal procedures.
The court then issued a show-cause notice to the Islamabad police chief. It also issued notices to Punjab Police DIG Ali Nasir Rizvi and Imran Kishwar, directing them to submit responses by September 8.
The session judge of Attock was directed to recover Elahi and present him before the court on Tuesday.
IHC removes objections on Elahi's petition
Meanwhile in Islamabad, the IHC removed objections posed by its Registrar Office on a petition filed by former Punjab chief minister and PTI President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi against his arrest under the Maintenance Public Order (MPO) and ordered to fix the case for hearing.
Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri heard the case filed by Elahi.
Elahi's lawyer Sardar Abdul Razzaq Advocate said that his client had been arrested only to frustrate the orders of Lahore High Court (LHC). The LHC had given clear orders that his client would not be arrested even under the MPO again.
The court said that so far it was removing the Registrar Office’s objections and directed it to fix the case again for hearing.