Irfan Siddiqui, former aide to Nawaz Sharif, sent to jail on 14-day judicial remand

Updated July 27, 2019

Email

Irfan Siddiqui (C) is presented before a magistrate in handcuffs on Saturday. — Photo by author
Irfan Siddiqui (C) is presented before a magistrate in handcuffs on Saturday. — Photo by author

Irfan Siddiqui, a close aide to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand on Saturday, a day after his arrest in Islamabad.

Siddiqui was arrested during a late Friday night raid on his residence in the federal capital for not informing police while renting out his house under the tenancy law.

He was shifted to the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) police station after being kept at the Ramna police station of Islamabad for some time.

Siddiqui, who served as the special assistant to the prime minister on national affairs during the PML-N government, was presented in the court of a judicial magistrate in handcuffs today.

Police submitted an application to seek his remand. After initially reserving judgement on the request, Assistant Commissioner Mehreen Baloch sent Siddiqui to Adiala Jail on a 14-day judicial remand.

The lawyers representing Siddiqui also submitted an application seeking bail for their client. It will be heard in the court of AC Baloch on Monday.

The counsel for Siddiqui contended that the house he had been suspected of renting out did not belong to Siddiqui, but that it was owned by his son Imran Siddiqui. A 'certificate of plinth verification' of the house located in Sector G-10/3 issued by the Capital Development Authority was also shared by Siddiqui's lawyers, showing that the property in question was owned by Imran Khawar Siddiqui.

A police source had told Dawn on Friday that Siddiqui was arrested under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code for not informing the relevant police station about giving his house on rent.

Under this law, the deputy commissioner of Islamabad had directed all property owners to inform local police stations about the particulars of their tenants.

According to the First Information Report of the case, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, a case was registered against Siddiqui under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint filed by a police officer.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb condemned the arrest of Siddiqui, a columnist and academic, saying: "The dictatorial government that puts teachers in handcuffs has freshened the memory of the case of stealing buffalo by arresting 78-year-old Irfan Siddiqui."

"Irfan Siddiqui is being punished for being a close companion of Nawaz Sharif," she alleged, asking Prime Minister Imran Khan to "also put millions of people behind bars" if the association with Sharif was the criterion for being arrested.

Aurangzeb also accused the premier of getting his "illegal Banigala palace" regularised but putting others in jail on account of properties.