Chakwal police arrested journalist Imran Riaz Khan from the Attock district judicial complex soon after a judge, in an early morning verdict, dismissed a treason case against the anchorperson and ordered his release for lack of sufficient evidence.

The journalist, who was taken into custody by Attock police near Islamabad on Tuesday night, was granted relief by a local court in the wee hours of Thursday, but the relief proved to be short-lived as a team of Chakwal police was waiting outside the courtroom to arrest him.

Earlier, the judge had rejected an application by Chakwal police to hand over the anchorperson to their custody as he chided the officials for not “adhering to legal procedures”.

“Imran Riaz cannot be handed over to Chakwal police,” the judge said in his verdict. But as Mr Riaz walked out of the courtroom after his release, he “voluntarily” handed himself over to the waiting police party, who subsequently moved him to a police station in Chakwal.

The ruling that ordered the release of the journalist was reserved by Judge Tanvir at 3 am. As he read out the verdict around 4 am, the judge ordered the immediate release of the journalist.

“The announcement of the ruling at dawn makes it the only early morning verdict in the judicial history of Attock,” lawyers said while commenting on the ruling.

“At this moment the case in hand is not a case of sufficient evidence which connect[s] the accused Imran Riaz with the commission of the offence as embodied in the crime report, therefore, the accused Imran Riaz Khan is hereby discharged from this case,” the judge had stated.

The order read: “After hearing and seeing the whole [footage] at this stage it is found that the accused present in the court did not use any derogatory remarks or any other word which can be said that the accused committed the offences levelled in the FIR.”

Police, after adopting legal procedures, can investigate the matter further but strictly in accordance with the law, it added.

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