Inspector General (IG) of Punjab police Dr Usman Anwar told the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday that that PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry — who was arrested earlier today for “inciting violence against a constitutional institution” — was in the custody of the Islamabad police.
The revelation was made as LHC’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh resumed hearing a petition challenging Fawad’s arrest. Earlier, the court had asked about the PTI leader’s whereabouts and summoned the Punjab and Islamabad police chiefs.
At the outset of today’s hearing, Justice Sheikh instructed the police to present Fawad in court by 1:30pm. However, when the proceedings resumed at 2pm, Punjab Advocate General (AAG) Jawad Yaqub said that he was not in a position to tell where Fawad was.
On the other hand, PTI lawyer Azhar Siddique told the court that they had just learnt that Fawad was being taken to Islamabad.
“The orders that I give, I make sure they are implemented,” Justice Sheikh said here. “Even if he [Fawad] has reached Islamabad, bring him back and present him before the court.”
In his response, the AAG said that he will ensure that the court’s orders were executed and sought some time. Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned for 30 minutes.
When it resumed, the judge inquired: “Where is Fawad?”
The AAG replied that Fawad was in the custody of the Islamabad police after which Justice Sheikh summoned the inspector generals of Islamabad and Punjab to court.
“The IGs of Islamabad and Punjab should appear in the court by 6 pm,” he said and instructed the LHC registrar to immediately communicate the orders to them.
But only the Punjab IG was present when the hearing resumed shortly after 6 pm.
Fawad’s lawyer stated that his client had not been presented in court yet again. “It is alarming that he was not produced before the court despite the court’s directives,” he said.
For his part, the Punjab IG informed the court that he was present in Rahim Yar Khan where mobile signals were weak. “I received the court’s directives regarding Fawad once mobile signals started working,” he said, asserting that the court could “check his track record”.
He maintained that he had tried to get in touch with Islamabad police but was unable to do so, adding that his “operator” was still making efforts in this regard.
“Fawad Chaudhry is not in the Punjab police’s custody. He is in the Islamabad police’s custody,” IG Anwar told the court.
THE ARREST: The former federal minister was taken into custody early Wednesday morning after an FIR against him was registered at Islamabad’s Kohsar police station by an official of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for “threatening” the electoral body’s members and their families.
According to Fawad’s brother, the former federal minister was “taken away” in four cars that did not have any number plates at 5:30am. Faisal Chaudhry said that the family was unaware of Fawad’s location at the time.
“We are also not being given any details of the FIR registered against him,” he said. Faisal, who is also a prominent lawyer, termed his brother’s arrest “illegal” and asserted that he will fight this battle in court.
Later, the PTI leader was brought to Lahore’s Cantt court where the judicial magistrate granted police Fawad’s transit remand.
Separately, a petition was filed in the LHC by Fawad’s cousin Nabeel Shahzad against the arrest. The petitioner named the Punjab government, provincial police officer, counter-terrorism department, deputy inspector general of police (operation) and station house officer of Defence A as respondents in the case.
It said that the PTI leader was apprehended “illegally, unconstitutionally and without legal authority” and demanded that police officials should be directed to recover Fawad from the “illegal and unlawful confinement” and produce him before the high court.