DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Former federal minister and PTI central leader Ali Amin Gandapur was arrested after hours-long drama on Thursday evening outside the premises of the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) Dera Ismail Khan bench.

A heavy police contingent headed by Dist­r­ict Police Officer (DPO) Abdur Rauf Qaisarani besieged the PHC building, where Mr Gandapur remained for several hours along with his supporting lawyers and associates.

Finally, Mr Gandapur came out to surrender and was taken into custody and transported in a prison van to an undisclosed location.

As he already obtained transit bail in multiple cases registered against him in Islam­abad, Punjab and Dera, it was not immediately clear in which case he has been arrested.

The DPO and other police officers remained tight-lipped and refused to offer any information to the media persons about the case details.

Besides, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the PTI leader would be kept in D.I. Khan or shifted to another city within or outside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

PTI chief Imran Khan condemned Mr Gandapur’s arrest, regretting that a “complete law of the jungle prevails” in the country.

“PDM and handlers have a one-point agenda — that is to go after PTI workers and leadership,” Mr Khan tweeted. “It was decided pre-emptively to arrest Ali Amin Gandapur despite bail. But they will still be decimated in the elections InshaAllah.”

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Gandapur visited the sessions court to get pre-arrest bail in cases registered in D.I. Khan.

From there, along with his supporting lawyers, he went to the high court, where he had an iftar dinner while the police officials waited for him outside.

Even after the court’s official time had ended, Mr Gandapur remained there with his supporters and so it the police force, awaiting his exit from the court’s premises.

Mr Gandapur’s lawyer, Ghulam Moham­mad Sapal, said that his client had already been granted transit and protective bails in all known cases registered against him in different parts of the country.

He said the PHC’s D.I. Khan bench had granted the PTI leader protective bail on March 22 in a case registered in Bhakkar on the charges of firing at a police checkpoint.

He said that they had appeared in the sessions court to get pre-arrest bail in a case, adding that when they came out of the courtroom, the doors of the session court were closed and the police were there to arrest Mr Gandapur.

Mr Sapal said he immediately submitted an application in the high court’s Dera bench against the police action, requesting that the police should disclose which and how many cases had been registered against Mr Gandapur. He said only the DPO could answer this question, as he was the one who gave Mr Gandapur’s arrest order.

Before his arrest, Mr Gandapur told the media that the sessions court had granted him protective bail in all the pending cases, but the police were bent on arresting him “without any justification”.

“Imran Khan is fighting the nation’s war and the rulers are not tolerating this move. Government institutions want to harass me as I stand with Imran Khan,” he said.

He alleged that the police had raided his house and those of his associates “without arrest warrants”.

“I have faith in courts. That’s why I am appearing in the cases,” he said.

In a statement issued on Thursday night, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the arrest, saying that it was a deplorable act, particularly when the Lahore High Court has recently struck down this colonial sedition law.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2023

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