LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday ordered Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Anwar to submit a reply to a petition by former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry seeking details of the cases registered against him.

Earlier, a two-member bench led by Justice Aalia Neelum summoned the IGP on a short notice and warned a Punjab government’s lawyer that the court did not want a “TikTok” presentation from the provincial police chief.

The government lawyer told the court that as many as 40 cases had been registered against the petitioner.

Justice Neelum asked the law officer why no investigation was conducted during the four-month incarceration of the petitioner.

The lawyer admitted that the investigating officer should have probed the petitioner.

The judge asked whether any action had been taken against the police officials involved.

Being dissatisfied with the law officer’s assistance, Justice Neelum gave him ten minutes to bring the IGP to the court.

When IGP Anwar appeared, the judge asked him to explain why the investigating officers failed to investigate the petitioner in the jail.

The IGP said various cases were registered against the petitioner in different locations.

Justice Neelum asked Mr Anwar what efforts his investigators made to conduct the investigation.

The IGP said there were certain legal requirements for conducting an investigation.

As Justice Neelum repeated the question, the IGP defended the neutrality of the police, saying the petitioner was acquitted in some cases where he was found innocent.

He said the police would submit record of all cases against Mr Chaudhry.

Senior lawyer Ahsan Bhoon said the former minister had been arrested twice — first under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) and then again in November 2023.

He said during the period of his arrests, Chaudhry was remanded for a total 41 days in various cases.

Justice Neelum questioned why there were six FIRs filed on the same day against the petitioner.

Mr Anwar said, “My Lord, please hear me out, we have formed various JITs.”

The judge directed the IGP not to make such statements before the bench and to submit a detailed reply, explaining why no investigation was conducted while the petitioner was in jail.

The judge ordered the IGP to file his reply in a day.

Mr Anwar said his team would present the reply to the court on Tuesday (today) as he needed to go to the Katcha area (in south Punjab) to monitor an ongoing operation against dacoits.

However, Justice Neelum ordered the IGP to personally submit the reply.

MEDIA TALK: Responding to media queries in the high court, Fawad Chaudhry said the decision about his politics was to be made by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) founder.

“I will do whatever the PTI founder says,” he said, adding that it was very easy for them

(PTI) to win the election on the basis of Form 47. “We have chosen the difficult path,” he said.

He said bitterness cannot be increased in the country during the current situation.

“I could say bitter things about what happened to me,” Chaudhry said and added bitter words were not beneficial for Pakistan.

He said that bitterness, whether with the establishment or among the political parties, needed to be reduced.

How a conducive environment for a dialogue can be created, while keeping Imran Khan in jail, he asked.

Separately, an anti-terrorism court granted pre-arrest bail to Fawad Chaudhry in four cases of May 9 riots.

The court restrained the police from arresting the former minister till April 20 and summoned record of the cases.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2024

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