PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday set aside the orders of the provincial capital’s deputy commissioner for the detention of former Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA Ali Mohammad Khan under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance and ordered his release.

A bench consisting of Justice Ijaz Anwar and Justice Syed M. Attique Shah accepted a petition filed by Ali Mohammad, who had challenged the Peshawar deputy commissioner’s May 30 orders issued under Section 3 of the MPO for keeping him behind bars for 30 days.

It pronounced the order after the completion of arguments by the petitioner’s lawyer, Ali Zaman, and provincial advocate general Aamir Javed.

As the court didn’t issue the order sheet, it was not known whether the release of the former lawmaker is subject to the furnishing of surety bonds and any undertaking of good behaviour or not.

On May 31, another high court bench had accepted petitions of around 240 PTI leaders and activists and set aside orders of the respective deputy commissioners for their detention in various districts of the province.

Sets aside Ali Mohammad Khan’s detention under MPO, but order sheet for his release awaited

It, however, accepted the petitions on condition of furnishing two surety bonds of Rs100,000 each to the satisfaction of the concerned deputy commissioner or additional deputy commissioner. The bench also directed the petitioners to produce undertakings that they won’t be involved in any anti-state activities and wouldn’t act prejudicially to the public safety in any manner.

During the hearing, Justice Ijaz Anwar observed that the detainees, who addressed a news conference to condemn the May 9-10 violent protests, were freed, but those who didn’t do so were re-arrested.

He wondered how serious charges against a suspect ended with a single news conference.

The petitioner’s counsel, Ali Zaman, contended that his client’s case was an example of political victimisation.

He said the petitioner was first arrested in Islamabad on May 11 under the MPO before the Islamabad High Court had issued his release order.

The lawyer added that the petitioner was re-arrested under the MPO on the order of Rawalpindi’s deputy commissioner.

He argued that when his client’s detention was subsequently declared illegal, then the administration, instead of releasing him, shifted him to the Peshawar Central Prison claiming that he had been arrested again under the MPO on the order of the deputy commissioner.

The lawyer wondered as the petitioner belonged to Mardan district, how Peshawar’s DC could order his detention under the MPO.

He contended that the entire exercise was aimed at forcing the petitioner to quit the PTI.

The AG opposed the bail petition and contended that the PTI activists had staged violent protests on May 9 and 10 damaging public property across the province.

He added that the detention order of the petitioner, a central PTI leader, was issued because his release was likely to “disturb public peace and tranquility.”

Meanwhile, the bench also set aside orders for the detention of four other PTI activists under the MPO.

The petitioners included Khalid Khan, Sher Wali, Zahid Khan and Mohammad Ishfaq.

Our Mardan correspondent adds: A local anti-terrorism court on Wednesday ordered the release of eight PTI activists, arrested in connection with May 9 violent protests, due to lack of evidence.

The court issued the order under section 169 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as the police had also admitted that there were no evidence against the eight suspects including Shuakat Ali, Ahmad Ali, Sabz Ali, Owais, Kazim Shah, Hasanul Mulk, Shehzad and Naseer-u-Din.

A panel of lawyers headed by Mohammad Riaz Paindakhel represented the suspects and contended that as no evidenceof the offence was available against them, no further proceedings could be held in their case and they all should be freed.

The suspects were arrested in connection with an FIR registered at the Mardan City police station on May 9 over violent protests.

The court ordered the release of around 30 suspects citing a lack of evidence of crime against them as the reason.

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court adjourned until June 10 the hearing into the bail petitions of around 120 people arrested over the May 9-10 riots.

The adjournment came as the police didn’t produce the relevant records before the court.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2023

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