PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday ordered the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government not to arrest Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf senior vice-president Sher Afzal Khan Marwat until further orders in four cases recently registered against him after he attended his party’s workers conventions in the province.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim also directed the government to produce details of all “cases and inquires pending” against the PTI leader in the province.

It issued directions during the hearing into five petitions of Mr Marwat, a lawyer by profession.

In four petitions, he requested the court for ordering the quashing of FIRs registered against him in Upper Dir, Swabi and Mardan districts following his participation in PTI workers conventions, while the fifth one sought the court’s orders for the government and law- enforcement agencies to share details of all cases and inquiries pending against him in the province.

Seeks details of cases, ongoing inquiries against him

Mr Marwat argued that while the high court had allowed his party to hold election activities in the province, wherever it held workers conventions, the police and local administration registered cases against him and party workers.

He said the day conventions were held in those districts, the administrations imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure banning public gatherings.

“We participated in conventions that were held on private premises to which that provision of the law doesn’t apply,” he said.

Meanwhile, the bench also stopped the government from declaring the arrest of imprisoned former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser and former MNA Mujahid Khan in any new case.

Hearing cases of different PTI leaders, Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan observed that the court had “least concern” about the petitioners’ political affiliation and instead, its prime concern was the safeguarding of the fundamental and constitutional rights of individuals.

The bench observed that it had to decide the law point if an individual was named in multiple cases and he was held, then his arrest would be declared in a single case or all cases.

The bench fixed Dec 12 for next hearing declaring it’ll appoint an amicus curiae on that point.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Syed Sikandar Hayat Shah, Inam Yousafzai and other lawyers appeared for the petitioners.

Advocate general Aamir Javed and additional advocate general Danyal Asad Chamkani appeared for the provincial government, whereas National Accountability Bureau was represented by its additional prosecutor, Mohammad Ali.

Mr Marwat argued that the former speaker Asad Qaiser was “regularly” charged in concocted cases and he had filed the petition seeking information from the government about all cases and inquiries pending against him.

He said the former NA speaker was named in at least six of the FIRs registered in different districts in connection with the May 9 protests.

The lawyer wondered how a single person could be present at six different places simultaneously.

He claimed that 34 cases had been registered against Mr Qaiser.

Mr Marwat said once his client got bail in a case, the government re-arrested him in another case.

He claimed that in the ongoing “political victimisation,” the government sealed private schools and colleges run by the petitioner several times and they were reopened after the intervention of the court.

Mr Marwat said in certain cases, the anti-corruption establishment had registered cases against Mr Qaiser on a tip-off but none of those informers were named.

Referring to superior court judgements, he insisted if there were multiple cases against an accused and once he was arrested, then the arrest would be declared in all cases.

NAB additional prosecutor Mohammad Ali informed the bench that presently, no inquiry or investigation was under way against Mr Qaiser.

AAG Danyal Chamkani said he had produced a report disclosing two inquiries were being held by the ACE against the former NA speaker.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2023

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