LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday sent eight Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) social media activists, including Sanam Javed, to jail on a six-day judicial remand while allowing investigating officer’s request for their identification parade in an arson attack case.
The suspects, including Sanam Javed, Afshan Tariq, Asheema Shuja, Shah Bano Gurchani, Mohammad Qasim, Ali Hassan, Mohammad Mubin Qadri and Syed Faisal Akhtar, were presented before the court on charges of attacking police near Rahat Bakery Chowk and setting fire to a police vehicle on May 9.
The PTI women activists, including Sanam Javed and Shahbano Gurchani, were rearrested by the investigation police on Monday night, shortly after they had been released from the Kot Lakhpat jail on court order in Jinnah House attack case.
Investigating Officer Naveed Anjum Awan requested for judicial remand to facilitate their identification in connection with the police vehicle arson case.
ATC allows IO’s request for identification parade
Judge Abher Gul Khan, who was presiding over the proceedings, approved the six-day judicial remand of all the suspects and subsequently sent them to jail.
Earlier on Saturday, another anti-terrorism court had ordered the release of nine PTI members, including its women activists, in connection with the Jinnah House attack case. Besides Sanam Javed and Shahbano Gurchani, Robina Jameel, Afshan Tariq, Ashma Shuja, Faisal Akhtar, Qasim, Ali Hasan and Hussain Qadri had secured bail against surety bonds worth Rs100,000 each, paving the way for their release.
While talking to Dawn, a police official claimed the police re-arrested Sanam Javed, Shahbano, Afshan Tariq and Ashma Shuja from outside Kot Lakhpat jail soon after their release.
He explained that the women were arrested in another case pertaining to May 9 violent attacks, which was registered with the Sarwar Road police station.
The PTI activists were rearrested and shifted from the jail to the police station for further investigations, the official confirmed.
PTI for contempt proceedings against police
A PTI spokesperson on Tuesday also decried the re-arrest of party activists and workers and demanded Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa initiate contempt proceedings against the officials involved in making “mockery of the law” of the land.
In a statement in reaction to the re-arrest of PTI male and female workers soon after being released from prison on court order, a PTI spokesman termed the practice of repeated arrests of the party workers and leaders despite clear court orders as “a slap in the face of the justice system”.
He said the arrests of activists after being released on bail by court was a ‘sheer fascism’ and oppression, adding that all limits of cruelties and barbarities were crossed to subject PTI’s affiliated male and female citizens to ‘vindictive’ political retribution.
The spokesperson went on to say that innocent mothers, sisters, daughters were being subjected to oppression and fascism in total disregard of Islamic values and law of the land.
“Chief Justice of Pakistan should take immediate notice of the brutality of the state machinery in the country and ensure protection of the basic constitutional rights of the citizens, especially of PTI workers, leaders and their families,” the statement added.
Also on Tuesday, PTI nominated the party’s official spokespersons who will give the official version on legal and political issues relating to PTI as well as party chairman and former prime minister Khan.
PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan notified PTI senior leaders including Farrukh Habib, Shoaib Shaheen, Raoof Hasan, Ali Mohammad Khan and Barrister Gohar Khan as the party’s official spokespersons.
“The designated official spokespersons will give the official version on legal and political issues relating to PTI and former prime minister and chairman [of] PTI,” the notification stated.
Syed Irfan Raza in Islamabad also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2023