QUETTA: A court in Quetta on Sunday approved Punjab police’s request to get the custody of Hassaan Niazi, a PTI leader and nephew of former premier Imran Khan, on transit remand in a case registered against him at Lahore’s Racecourse Police Station.

The Balochistan police handed over Mr Niazi to the Lahore police after producing him before a judicial magistrate (Quetta-VII).

He was brought to Quetta from Islamabad on Saturday morning and was produced before judicial magistrate Jamil Ahmed Sheikh (Quetta-III), who rejected the Balochistan police request seeking five-day physical remand of Mr Niazi and granted interim bail to him in a case registered by the Airport Police Station in Quetta.

However, he remained imprisoned on Saturday despite bail and was detained late in the night under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO) and was shifted to Saddar Police Station in Quetta.

A team of Lahore police headed by Inspector Syed Adnan Bukhari arrived in Quetta on Sunday morning to take Mr Niazi’s custody in a case registered against him at the Racecourse Police Station in Lahore.

An FIR was registered at the Racecourse Police Station on March 9 on the complaint of DSP Sabir Ali, who was injured in clashes with PTI workers near Imran Khan’s residence. The FIR was registered under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code alongside Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Mr Niazi, who is the PTI’s focal person on legal affairs, was arrested on March 20 as he was leaving the Federal Judicial Complex in Islamabad after securing pre-arrest bail in three other cases related to violence that took place on Feb 28 and March 18 when PTI chief Imran Khan appeared at the complex.

On March 21, an Islamabad district and sessions court granted police two-day physical remand of Mr Niazi. Upon the expiry of the initial remand, he was then sent to jail on 14-day judicial remand.

However, Quetta police then registered an FIR against him, after which a sub-inspector from Quetta’s Airport Police Station on Friday filed an application before an Islamabad court seeking transitory remand of Mr Niazi to produce him before a judge in Quetta, which was subsequently granted.

Speaking to the media outside the court, Mr Niazi said PTI’s rally at Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore the previous night was a “huge success”, adding that “getting arrested again after obtaining a bail was beyond his comprehension”, Dawn.com reported.

He maintained that Imran Khan was the “most popular leader” of the country and expressed pride over being handcuffed. “My hands have jewels around them.” He added, “Lahore is my home and let’s see what happens now that Punjab police is taking me there.”

Meanwhile, Mr Niazi’s lawyer, Advocate Syed Iqbal Shah condemned the treatment meted out to his client by the police. “This is an illegal, unconstitutional, and inhumane act.”

In Lahore, a police officer told Dawn that the city police had sent a request to the Balochistan government through the Punjab home secretary to get Mr Niazi’s custody.

He said a police team from Lahore was dispatched to Quetta after the Balochistan home department approved the Punjab government’s request.

“The Quetta police have handed over Hassaan Niazi to the Lahore police team, which was on its way back to Punjab,” the police officer said.

Asif Chaudhry in Lahore also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2023

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