Gwadar police on Friday arrested Haq Do Tehreek (HDT) leader Maulana Hidayatur Rehman after he showed up at a local court — four days after he announced that he was heading to Gwadar to surrender.
A heavy police contingent was present at the court today to arrest Rehman over charges stemming from the killing of a policeman by unidentified assailants on Dec 27, 2022 during the recent protests held by HDT supporters.
According to police spokesperson Aslam Khan, constable Yasir was shot in the neck after violence erupted during the protest at Hashmi Chowk. “He passed away on the spot.”
Balochistan Home Minister Ziaullah Langove had later directed the province’s police to register a case against Rehman.
It emerged on Jan 2 that the police had registered a first information report (FIR) against Rehman on charges of murder, attempt to murder, provoking the people for violence and other charges.
The FIR, a copy which is available with Dawn.com, was registered on Dec 30, 2022 and names three other people along with Rehman as responsible for the alleged charges.
It claims that Rehman “provoked and incited the people sitting there (at the protest site) to pelt stones at government vehicles”, which allegedly resulted in the “shattering of car windows” of a police officer along with other losses.
Other HDT leaders, including Hussain Wadila, Yaqoob Joski and Sharif Miandad, were arrested and moved to Quetta from Turbat jail on Jan 4 for further interrogation.
The protests, which turned violent and resulted in arrests of almost 100 people, were part of demonstrations being held in the city for nearly two months now.
Their demands include an end to illegal trawling in Gwadar’s water, a high number of security checkpoints and the opening up of trade on the Pak-Iran border.
Balochistan Bar Council condemns arrest
Meanwhile, the Balochistan Bar Council issued a statement condemning the arrest and presented a different version of the events that took place today.
It said that Rehman was present at the court along with lawyers as he wanted legal assistance and was supposed to be present in the court for interim bail.
However, the Gwadar district police officer (DPO) forcefully arrested the HDT leader without respecting the court, which counted as contempt of court, the lawyers’ body alleged.
Announcing a boycott of legal activities in the entire province on Saturday (tomorrow), the council demanded Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili and Inspector General of Police Abdul Khaliq Sheikh to take notice of the arrest.
The statement said it was “every citizen’s basic right to be granted interim bail after being present in front of the court” and termed the DPO’s actions “unlawful”.
It further stated that “today’s incident proved the Gwadar police has completely failed in protecting the people and their belongings” and instead has “established its own law and courts”.