ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday granted protective bails to PTI leader and former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser and ex-federal minister Hammad Azhar.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petitions moved by the PTI leaders seeking protection against arrest after multiple FIRs were registered against them for participating in the long march led by chairman PTI Imran Khan towards Islamabad.

The bench granted bail to Asad Qaiser till June 20 while it directed the respondents not to arrest Hammad Azhar till June 13 and adjourned the proceedings.  Asad Qaiser, in his petition, stated that he participated in the recent long march on the call of his party head Imran Khan and for that cases were registered against him by the police and FIA in various cities.

He prayed to the court to issue directives for provision of complete details and list of registered cases against him across the country, and stop the police and FIA from arresting him. He cited Secretary Interior, Inspectors General of Police Islamabad, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FIA Director General as respondents in the case.

Hammad Azhar, in his plea, adopted the stance that “illegal cases” had been registered against him in different police stations and he and his family were being harassed. He said that he wanted to join the investigation against him and prayed the court to stop the police from arresting him. The petitioner made the federation, IGP Punjab, SSP Operations Lahore and others as respondents in the case.

He said that the respondents in order to satisfy their ill will, on the instructions of the sitting government booked more than hundred and fifty unknown accused under the heinous charges of Anti-Terrorism Act to take the political opponents unto task.

Court hears PTI leaders’ petitions seeking protection against arrest after multiple FIRs filed against them for participating in long march

The petitioner added that later on it is learnt that all the leadership of PTI including the petitioner have been booked in the above-mentioned concocted FIR. He submitted that the accused/petitioner has falsely been implicated in the FIR in order to harass, pressurise, blackmail and humiliate the petitioner and his family.

He further said that whereas, the petitioner/accused is innocent and has nothing to do with the commission of alleged offences. He maintained that the petitioner seeks kind indulgence of this court through instant writ petition seeking remedy of protective/transit bail from this court in order to approach the appropriate forum.

Hammad contended that the titled FIR is politically motivated, in which the petitioner has been falsely involved in the instant case in connivance with the incumbent interior minister and the heads of sitting government, with malafide intention and ulterior motives. He said that the story narrated by the complainant in the FIR is false, frivolous, concocted and has been registered in result of well thought malicious strategy in order to drag the petitioner into criminal litigation to disrespect and humiliate the petitioner for absurd and frivolous accusations.

The petitioner maintained that as a settled principle of law, access to competent court is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 whereas refusal to grant protective bail would tantamount to denial of right to access to justice.

He continued that it is settled law that protective bail granted to an accused, so as to enable an accused to approach the concerned court of another province for the purposes of obtaining pre-arrest bail.

Therefore, he prayed to the court that the petitioner may very graciously be granted pre-arrest protective/transit bail in order to approach the proper forum/court in his home district in order to meet the ends of justice.

He further prayed that respondents may kindly be restrained from taking any adverse and coercive measure against the petitioner including interference in the liberty of the petitioner or his arrest in manner whatsoever without permission of this court.