LHC orders immediate release of Shah Mahmood Qureshi
RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was arrested in the light of May 9 violent protests.
Former foreign minister Qureshi has been arrested multiple times since his first arrest.
While hearing a petition against his arrest, LHC's Rawalpindi Bench ordered that Qureshi should not be arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO) anymore.
Justice Chaudhry Abdul Aziz presided over the hearing.
The court also declared Rawalpindi deputy commissioner's MPO orders illegal and directed authorities to immediately release the PTI vice chairman without asking him to submit surety bonds.
Assistant Attorney General Abid Aziz Rajouri represented the government's side, while lawyer Taimoor Malik and Qureshi's daughter were there for the PTI leader.
During the hearing, the court inquired from the law officer if Qureshi had given any speech or led any protest.
"No political leader can control his words in a political gathering," the court remarked while directing the law officer to present evidence against the former foreign minister if any.
At this, the official sought two days for the submission of evidence.
However, the court directed him to update the court within an hour after taking directives from the government.
The court then adjourned the hearing for an hour.
Meanwhile, the Punjab police presented a report on the cases against Qureshi.
As per the report, nine cases have been registered against Qureshi across Punjab. Four of these cases are registered in Lahore, while five cases are registered at different police stations in Multan.
The report was submitted upon the request of the PTI leader's daughter.
It may be noted that several senior PTI leaders had been arrested after the protests erupted in response to PTI Chairman Imran Khan's arrest on May 9.
At least eight people were killed in clashes between PTI supporters and law enforcement agencies after his arrest on corruption charges.
Apart from Qureshi, Asad Umar, Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry and Yasmeen Rashid were among the prominent PTI names who had been taken into custody.
However, some of the leaders including Umar, Mazari and Chaudhry were released. Many of them have also quitted the party and parted ways with the former prime minister in condemnation of the violent protests.