An Islamabad district and sessions court on Thursday sent Hassaan Niazi, the nephew of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, to jail on 14-day judicial remand in a case related to misbehaving with police officials.
Duty Magistrate Mureed Abbas rejected the police’s request for an extension in Niazi’s physical remand and said police had failed to recover anything from the suspect. He added that Niazi should be presented before the court on April 6.
Niazi was re-arrested on Monday in a separate case as he was leaving the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) after securing pre-arrest bail in three cases.
A new first information report (FIR) — which relates to the alleged misbehaviour with officials — was registered against him at the Ramna police station.
The FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was registered at the Ramna Police Station on the complaint of Assistant Sub-Inspector Khuban Shah under Sections 34 (common intention), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 324 (attempted murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 427 (mischief causing damage amounting to Rs50) and 506(2) (criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The FIR alleged that the police had tried to stop Niazi’s vehicle but the driver tried to run them over. It said that upon being stopped, Niazi stepped out of the vehicle, verbally abused the police and threatened to shoot them.
On Tuesday, a district and sessions court had remanded Niazi into police custody for two days. The same day, Niazi had filed an appeal against the decision.
Earlier today, the PTI leader was presented in the court of Judicial Magistrate Mureed Abbas. Niazi was represented by Advocate Faisal Chaudhry.
At the outset of the hearing, the investigating officer (IO) requested the court for an extension in Niazi’s physical remand, saying that the “pistol and car [involved in the incident] needed to be recovered”.
Presenting his arguments, Chaudhry opposed the police request for an extension. “More than 72 hours have passed but they still have to recover the pistol,” he remarked.
Reading out the text of the FIR, the lawyer said: “In 72 hours, the police could not find out which car it was and on whose name it was registered. The suspect is a lawyer by profession and on that day, he had obtained bail in three other cases.”
He maintained that cases were being registered on “political grounds”. “Hassaan Niazi’s sin is that he is Imran Khan’s nephew,” he added.
Chaudhry also referred to a case filed against TV anchor Siddique Jan and said that he was discharged when police could not find anything against him. “This is [about] lawyers’ cause; it should be seen from a better angle,” he asserted at the conclusion of his arguments.
Subsequently, Niazi’s other lawyer, Ali Bukhari, also presented his arguments.
“The police report stated that Niazi was picked up at 11am but the arrest was made at 4pm,” he pointed. He asserted that his client’s arrest was illegal and said that “a lot of people sat inside after Niazi’s arrest as they feared they could also be arrested”.
Referring to Niazi’s arrest, Islamabad Bar Council President Qaiser Imam told the court that this had never happened before in the country’s history. “Cases are being filed against lawyers who are representing their clients […] we have seen martial [law] and worse situations but have never seen this,” he lamented.
After the arguments were wrapped up, the court reserved its verdict and rejected the police request for an extension in Niazi’s physical remand.
PTI claims Azhar Mashwani ‘abducted’
Later in the day, the PTI alleged that Azhar Mashwani had been “abducted” from Lahore and his whereabouts were unknown.
In a series of tweets, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said: “Enough is enough. Police in Punjab and Islamabad are breaking all laws with impunity as they target PTI. Today, Azhar Mashwani was abducted in the afternoon from Lahore and his whereabouts are unknown.
“On March 18, Senator Shibli Faraz and Omar Sultan were badly beaten by Islamabad police despite both having permission to be inside the judicial complex,” he said.
Imran added that his nephew Niazi was also “abducted immediately after getting bail and later charged with sham FIRs to keep him locked up”.
Imran said he was sending the pictures of the Punjab and Islamabad police chiefs, and all officers “indulging in this criminal behaviour” to international human rights organisations so “they can identify those working for the state and indulging in abductions, illegal break-ins into homes, custodial torture, and violence against political leaders and unarmed workers of PTI.”
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry called for Mashwani to be presented in court and for the details of the charges against him to be made public.
Ex-human rights minister Shireen Mazari said that it seemed the state had declared “open season” on PTI leaders and workers.
“Abducting Azhar Mashwani this afternoon in Lahore is condemnable and illegal,” she said.
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