Upon release from the Adiala Jail after almost a month of incarceration, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that he would meet party chief Imran Khan tomorrow (Wednesday) and share his analysis of the current political situation in the country.
On May 18, the Islamabad High Court had ordered the former foreign minister’s release. However, his release was delayed due to his apparent reluctance to provide an undertaking to refrain from engaging in “unruly” protests.
When Qureshi was finally set free on May 23, he was again taken into custody by Punjab police from outside Adiala Jail after his detention orders were issued by the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner.
Earlier today, the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) Rawalpindi bench ordered the PTI leader’s immediate release and set aside his detention orders.
Talking to reporters outside the jail, Qureshi said, “The flag of justice is in my hand today and I am a part of a movement that wants to see a free Pakistan.”
The PTI leader said he would meet Imran tomorrow. “I have spent a month in solitary confinement and got time to reflect and think about a lot of things … Tomorrow I will meet Imran Khan, present to him my political analysis and seek guidance,” he stated.
Qureshi also thanked God, his family, the PTI, the courts and his legal team for working day and night for his release.
“I was re-arrested under the MPO […] I don’t think there was any ground for the arrest because how can a prisoner in jail indulge in public disorder? Who can I contact, instruct or incite?”
Addressing PTI supporters, he said, “This is a testing and difficult time but don’t lose hope because after every night there is a dawn.”
“I think in different jails there are countless innocent people who should be released. I will try, and we will pursue their cases after consultation with our legal team,” Qureshi added.
Concluding his media talk, the PTI leader said he would meet Imran and hold a press conference again. He further refused to answer any questions.
LHC Pindi bench orders Qureshi’s immediate release
Earlier in the day, the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench set aside Qureshi’s detention orders and restrained the police from arresting him in any other case pertaining to the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
Last week, the PTI leader’s daughter had approached the court requesting to restrain police from arresting her father in any other case and his release.
During today’s hearing, Punjab Assistant Attorney General Abid Aziz Rajouri represented the government while lawyer Taimur Malik and Qureshi’s daughter were present on behalf of the PTI leader.
Justice Chaudhry Abdul Aziz presided over the hearing during which the government lawyer requested the court to grant more time for preparing his arguments.
The judge accepted his request and adjourned the hearing for an hour. “If you have evidence against Shah Mahmood Qureshi, present them in court within an hour,” he directed.
However, when the hearing resumed, Rajouri sought another two days to present evidence against Qureshi.
“Leave whatever happened in the past and move forward now,” Justice Aziz said here. “Everything is not a joke,” he added.
The judge then ordered Qureshi’s immediate release and barred police from arresting him in any case under the MPO. “No affidavit should be taken from Shah Mahmood Qureshi,” he added.
In an order issued later in the day, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the court set aside Qureshi’s detention under MPO for 15 days. “The detenue Shah Mahmood Qureshi is ordered to be released forthwith if not required in some other case,” it ruled.
The court also directed the PTI leader to submit a bond to the Rawalpindi district magistrate. “It is further expected that after his release, Shah Mahmood Qureshi will not be detained under the provisions of the Punjab MPO for delinquency having been committed in the past,” the order concluded.
Meanwhile, Qureshi’s son Zain said his father had been kept in “solitary confinement” at Adiala Jail for 27 days.
9 cases registered against Qureshi in Punjab, police tell LHC
Separately, the Punjab police submitted details of cases registered against the PTI leader in the LHC’s principal seat.
The hearing, presided by Justice Ali Baqir Najafi, was conducted on a petition filed by Qureshi’s daughter through Advocate Taimur Malik seeking the details of “undisclosed” cases registered against her father.
A day earlier, the court had directed the Punjab caretaker government and police to file replies to the petition.
During the hearing today, the police submitted a report in court which revealed that a total of nine cases were registered against the PTI leader in Punjab of which five were lodged in Multan and the remaining were in Lahore.
It added that cases against Qureshi — pertaining to vandalism at the Jinnah House and other locations — included sections of terrorism.
After the report was submitted in court, the petition was disposed of.