ISLAMABAD: After the counsel for Irfan Siddiqui claimed that the notification cited in the arrest warrants of the former adviser to the prime minister was bogus, Islamabad High Court (IHC) has sought proof from the district administration about its authenticity.

During the hearing of the petition seeking quashment of the First Information Report (FIR) registered against Irfan Siddiqui on Tuesday, Advocate Tanvir Iqbal pointed out that on May 17 the district administration had issued a notification under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code that made it mandatory for landlords to share details of the tenants with the police station concerned. After it lapsed on July 17, Advocate Iqbal said the district magistrate issued another notification on July 22.

He said under the law there was no provision for issuing the notification again without the prior approval of the interior ministry, adding that another legal requirement was to publish it in the official gazette which was also not followed in this case.

On the other hand, the prosecution informed the court that the challan of this case had been submitted to the trial court and the counsel for the accused could take the same plea during the trial.

Advocate Iqbal pointed out that the prosecution filed the challan with mala fide intent before the trial court a day earlier to the IHC’s hearing. He said the prosecution was trying to dodge legal proceedings.

IHC Justice Aamer Farooq asked the defence counsel to explain as to why the high court would continue hearing the petition even after the challan in the case had been submitted before the trial court.

The court directed the prosecution to submit the official gazette where the notification of the district magistrate was published.

Mr Siddiqui was arrested on August 2 from his house in G-10/3 for allegedly violating the tenancy law.

He was produced before Assistant Commissioner Mehreen Baloch in handcuffs who then sent him to jail on judicial remand. The following day the same magistrate convened the court and granted Siddiqui bail against surety bonds of Rs20000.

In the petition, Mr Siddiqui contended that the government bestowed upon him Hilal-i-Imtiaz in recognition for his services in the field of journalism and education.

He stated that he held the position of press secretary to the president of Pakistan and adviser to the prime minister in the past.

The petition claimed that the case against him was baseless and that he was handcuffed for humiliation on charges of violating the Tenancy Act for a property he never owned.

Mr Siddiqui cited station house officer Ramna police station, investigation officer, district magistrate and assistant commissioner as respondents in the petition.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019