PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Friday took exception to the ‘bid’ of the Punjab police’s personnel to arrest PTI’s nominee for Punjab chief minister’s office and MPA-elect Mian Aslam Iqbal in Peshawar despite the issuance of protective bail to him by it and directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa inspector general of police to ensure that if those police officials make a similar attempt in future, they’re subjected to legal action.

A bench consisting of Justice Shakeel Ahmad and Justice Wiqar Ahmad also sought the response of KP’s IGP within a fortnight to a contempt petition of Mian Aslam, who insisted that despite the grant of protective bail to him in 18 cases by the court on Feb 21, the Punjab police tried to apprehend him outside the high court premisesthe same day.

It directed the IGP to communicate its Feb 21 orders to his counterpart and home secretary in Punjab.

It also issued notices to Punjab’s police chief and home secretary seeking their response to the petition on the next hearing.

Declares if Punjab police try to arrest Aslam Iqbal in KP again, legal action should be taken against them

“He (KP IGP) is also directed to take appropriate legal action against the police officials of Punjab as and when they make any attempt to arrest petitioner Mian Mohammad Aslam Iqbal in future in violation of the orders of this court and produce a report in this respect,” the bench declared.

The bench adjourned the hearing into the petition until March 14 directing an additional advocate general and assistant advocate general — the representatives of the government — to communicate its orders to KP’s IGP and compliance within a fortnight.

Advocates Shah Faisal Uthmankhel, Mohammad Inam Khan Yousafzai, Azmatullah Afridi and Rehmat Ali appeared for the petitioner and stated that on Feb 21 the court had granted protective transit bail to the petitioner in 18 cases until March 6, directing him to approach the relevant courts by that date.

However, they stated that when they went out of the high court there were nine vehicles of Punjab police which chased them and attempted to arrest the petitioner.

Mr Uthmankhel said the highhandedness of Punjab police made the petitioner take shelter here and that he couldn’t even go to Lahore on Friday to attend the session of the Punjab Assembly.

The bench observed that a procedure was prescribed for police to operate and arrest a wanted person in a province other than their own.

It added that the police of one province were bound by rules formally to inform the relevant police station of another province about the presence of a suspected criminal in its area.

Additional and assistant advocates general Jalaluddin Akber Azam Gara, Saqib Raza and Junaid Zaman appeared before the bench and said they had informed the IGP about the court’s orders on the matter.

Justice Shakeel wondered why the IGP didn’t act against the officials of Punjab police over an illegal act.

The bench observed that the Punjab police had made a mockery of the law in KP.

“There will be law of the jungle if the law of the land is not followed,” Justice Shakeel Ahmad observed.

TRANSIT BAILS: Two high court benches granted transit protective bails to Punjab’s lawmakers-elect Mohammad Ahmad Chatha and Rai Mohammad Murtaza.

Justice Fazal Subhan Khan of a single-member bench granted bail to Mr Chatha in 28 cases, mostly registered after the May 9 violent protests and directed him to produce two surety bonds of Rs100,000 each.

The bench directed him to appear before the relevant courts by March 8.

The lawyer for the petitioner said his client – a PTI leader elected both MNA and MPA – was charged in concocted cases on political grounds.

The bench wondered why petitioners didn’t appear before courts in Punjab.

The counsel insisted law-enforcement agencies didn’t let his clients approach those courts for relief and there were fears of their arrest on the way to the court.

Meanwhile, Justice Mohammad Faheem Wali of another single-member bench granted transit bail to Mr Rai Murtaza in five criminal cases until March 11 directing him to appear before the relevant court by then.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2024

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