IHC Bars LEAs From Shifting Imaan Mazari Out Of Islamabad

IHC Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb has remarked that 2023 is the darkest year in terms of the implementation of the Constitution

IHC Bars LEAs From Shifting Imaan Mazari Out Of Islamabad
Caption: Human rights lawyer Imaan Mazari

The Islamabad High Court's (IHC) Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb has observed that 2023 is the darkest year in terms of the implementation of the constitution.

He further observed that we are going through difficult times. He made these observations while hearing an application seeking protective bail for human rights activist Iman Mazari.

The IHC has sought details of cases registered against Iman.

The court also directed the secretary of the Ministry of Interior to seek the details of the cases against Iman from the provinces and submit them to the court.

The IHC has ruled that Iman cannot be taken out of the jurisdiction of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The IHC has also barred authorities from arresting Iman in any case where there is an occurrence after August 20.

The application was filed by a former federal minister, Shireen Mazari, the mother of Iman Mazari, through her counsel, Advocate Zainab Janjua.

The protective bail application is in relation to a series of attempts by the police and investigative agencies to arrest Iman Mazari even after relief in FIRs was granted by two courts. 

Advocate Salman Akram Raja appeared and argued the application.

Islamabad's IGP, CTD's SSP, FIA, and Superintendent Central Jail are made respondents in the case.

The application filed under Article 199 of the Constitution further prayed that the IGP, CTD, FIA, or any other provincial or federal investigative agency be restrained from arresting, harassing, or restricting the liberty of Iman Zainab Hazir.

The petition also requested the IHC issue directions to the authority to produce a list of FIRs registered against Iman within and outside the jurisdiction of Islamabad Capital Territory to enable her to approach the court of competent jurisdiction for her pre-arrest bail.

On August 19, Iman participated in a rally organized by the Pashtoon Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), and she was not among the organizers of the rally.

However, she was invited to the stage to deliver a short speech.

On August 20, a day after the said rally, the Station House Officer of Police Station Tarnol lodged an FIR with the allegations that a rally of the PTM led by Manzoor Pashteen, Ali Wazir, Haji Abdul Semad, and Iman Mazari, along with 20 other nominated people, violated the NOC given to them for protesting on one side of the road and instead blocked both sides of the G.T. Road, as they were stopped from marching to Islamabad.

It was alleged in the FIR that there were 700–800 individuals, most of whom were armed with batons and firearms, who misbehaved with the police and threatened dire consequences.

Consequently, Mazari was forcibly arrested by the Islamabad Police on the very same night when she got back from Jaranwala.

Before her arrest, Iman had visited Jaranwala to show solidarity with the Christian community after the incidents of attacks on churches and houses.

According to the petition, the police broke into her house by breaking the doors and leaping over the house's walls. The police took Iman in haste, without giving her a chance to change her clothes, to the police station.

Later in the morning, she was presented before the magistrate for a grant of physical remand. The Investigating Officer (IO) requested a 5-day physical remand for the completion of the investigation and to make recoveries. The magistrate turned down the request of the police and sent Iman to judicial lockup.

When Iman was about to be taken to judicial lockup, the prosecutor seemingly whisked out another FIR nominating Iman. Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, of 1997, was also included in the FIR.

On August 21, Iman was consequently taken into custody by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD). She was presented before the Anti-Terrorism Court of Islamabad (ATC).

The judge of the ATC declined the request for 10 days of physical remand and instead only granted 3 days of physical remand.

Meanwhile, Iman moved a bail petition before the magistrate. The magistrate granted bail to Iman after hearing arguments on August 22.

Again on August 24, she was presented before the ATC, wherein the IO prayed for an extension in physical remand.

However, the ATC judge declined the request and instead sent her on judicial remand.

Despite the filing of the bail petition before the same court at the grant of judicial remand, the judge did not hear the bail petition on the same date and fixed the bail hearing for August 26.

On August 26, the bail petition could not be heard due to the absence of not only the ATC Judge but also the Duty Judge.

The judge of the Control of Narcotic Substances (CNS) Court fixed the matter for a hearing on August 28.

However, on the said date, Iman's bail petition was heard by the ATC Judge and was consequently allowed subject to the submission of sureties amounting to Rs. 10,000.

As soon as the bail order was complied with and she came out of Central Jail Rawalpindi, she was once again apprehended by the Islamabad police, who filed her nomination in another FIR registered at PS Bara Kahu.

The police and the investigating agencies have forcibly kept Iman under detention, citing her nomination in one FIR after another, leading to not only an abuse of the process of the law but also stringently restricting her fundamental rights and liberties.

The IHC has adjourned the hearing until tomorrow.

While talking to Naya Daur TV, senior journalist Asad Ali Toor said that Judge Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb remarked, "I had told her (Imaan) to keep her mother's tongue under control, but she couldn't even keep hers in control."

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain