A Lahore district court on Sunday approved a two-day physical remand of former Punjab Assembly deputy speaker Dost Mazari at the request of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) following his arrest a day ago in a “land scandal” case.
The Punjab ACE had arrested Mazari in a case of allegedly illegal allotment of 2,500 kanal land in Rajanpur district. The ACE spokesperson said Mazari was told “twice or thrice” to attend the hearing of the illegal allotment of the land case, but he did not appear before the investigating team.
Presenting Mazari in the district court today, the department requested his physical remand to complete the investigation, which the court accepted.
The court ordered ACE to present Mazari again on Tuesday.
Speaking outside the court, Mazari said he was being “victimised”. “I am being given punishment for standing with the Constitution,” he added.
Following his arrest yesterday, his counsel Usama Khawar Ghumman, while speaking to Dawn.com, said: “This arrest is the perfect example of political revenge.”
Ghumman also condemned Mazari and his family’s alleged harassment. He termed the arrest “a danger to democracy and the rule of law”, resolving to fight Mazari’s case in court.
“Anti-Corruption [Establishment] has exceeded its powers,” he said.
Meanwhile, a handout issued from the Punjab ACE spokesperson said that 8,175 kanal of land was retrieved from Mazari in Rojhan.
It said that according to the report of the Rojhan assistant commissioner, Mazari had seized about 40,000 acres of government land in 2019 which was subsequently recovered. However, it added that Mazari had then “waged an armed attack”, forcefully snatched government documents, kept all revenue documents with him and taken over acres of land at different places.
The handout alleged that falsified records were created as well but ACE seized them and presented them before the district court. Another handout added that other official documents will be recovered from Mazari during his remand.
PML-N leaders respond
Responding to Mazari’s arrest, PML-N Vice President Hamza Shehbaz said: “Punjab government has arrested ex-deputy speaker Dost Mazari in a false case on the orders of [PTI Chairman] Imran [Khan] Niazi.
“Dost Mazari prioritised standing on the right side of history at an important political point for which he is being punished.”
Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique rued that the Punjab chief minister had become a part of the incident.
He said the arrest was “nothing but a vile act of revenge”.
ACE had earlier this month summoned 10 people, including Mazari, in an alleged land grab case.
Others involved in the case included Rujhan assistant commissioner (AC), area patwari, Zahid Mazari, Sher Muhammad Mazari , Manoj Kumar, dafedars of Border Military Police Kashif and Fahad.
Sources had told Dawn that the plaintiff in the case was Manoj Kumar of Kashmore, Sindh, who was allegedly being threatened for trying to get possession of state land whose lease he had won.
Talking to Dawn, the former deputy speaker had denied all charges, saying it was a politically motivated matter.