ISLAMABAD: Justice Arbab Mohammad Tahir of the Islamabad High Court on Monday overruled the detention order of PTI leader Shehryar Afridi and ordered bringing him within the territorial jurisdiction of Islamabad.

The judge also directed the authorities concerned to upgrade the status of Mr Afridi in jail, as well as those being detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) and provide them better class in jails.

According to a former sessions judge, there are about 20 rooms in Adiala jail for those entitled to better class where the jail administration provides refrigerator, air conditioner, television and a servant, besides other essential items. Following the IHC order, he said, it would become mandatory for the jail authorities to provide better class to all those being detained from Islamabad under the MPO.

Mr Afridi, a former minister for states and frontier regions and narcotics control, is confined at Adiala jail because of the detention orders issued by the district magistrates of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, respectively, under the MPO.

Directs authorities to provide PTI leader better class in jail

Advocate Sher Afzal Khan Marwat argued the case of the petitioner.

Observing that the detention under MPO does not serve end of the justice, Justice Tahir directed the jail authorities, district administration and police to treat Mr Afridi as under-custody accused of Islamabad police because he was nominated in two different FIRs registered in two police stations of the federal capital.

Police had arrested the PTI leader and his wife on May 16 under Section 16 of the MPO.

During the hearing, the Islamabad police informed the IHC that Mr Afridi was detained because he was creating political instability in the country.

The superintendent of Rawalpindi’s central prison told the court that Mr Afridi was detained in the jail on May 16 on the orders of the district magistrate of Islamabad for a period of 15 days. Moreover, he was not confined in death cells, but in a cell of security ward with separate enclosure due to security reasons.

The jail authorities, however, refused the hand over of Mr Afridi to the Islamabad police in connection with investigations into two criminal cases because of the detention order issued by the district magistrate of Rawalpindi.

Justice Tahir observed that “the detention under the MPO is not a bar in the way of investigations into the already registered criminal cases”. “The detenu, if handed over to the police for investigation into the already registered criminal cases, in no way serves an order for release of the detenu from preventive detention, rather serves the ends of justice,” read the court order.

The court declared that the arrest of Mr Afridi and the order for his detention was illegal.

“The petitioner [Shehryar Afridi] shall be deemed to have been arrested in the criminal cases registered against him within the jurisdiction of this court,” the court ruled

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2023

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