PTI chief’s nephew handed over to military for trial, LHC told – Pakistan


PTI leader Hassaan Khan Niazi, party chairman Imran Khan’s nephew, has been handed over to the military for trial over his alleged involvement in the May 9 vandalism at Lahore’s Jinnah House, the Lahore High Court (LHC) was told on Friday.

Earlier this week, it was reported in the media that Niazi, who had been in hiding since the protests of May 9 and 10, was arrested by the police from Abbottabad on August 13.

Following the reports, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) had sought details from the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments about his arrest, fixing August 18 (today) as the day for the hearing.

The PTI leader’s counsels had also informed the PHC that their client’s whereabouts were unknown since his arrest.

Simultaneously, a Lahore anti-terrorism court (ATC) had directed the Race Course police to declare Niazi a proclaimed offender in a case of torching police vehicles outside Zaman Park, while suspending proceedings for same in the Jinnah House case after his arrest had been made.

On August 15 (Tuesday), Niazi’s father, Hafeezullah Khan Niazi, filed a petition in the LHC seeking recovery of his son, which is being heard today.

A day ago, a military official wrote a letter to the police, requesting it to hand over Niazi’s custody to the military for “trial by the court martial”.

The said letter, which Dawn.com has seen, was written by a battalion’s commanding officer to Sarwar Road In-charge Investigation Muhammad Sarwar.

The letter stated that Niazi, who “was involved in commission of offences in the incident of May 9, 2023 at Jinnah House, Lahore Cantonment, is in police custody”.

It further said that it had been “revealed to military authorities through initial investigation” that Niazi had been “found involved in commission of offences attracting the provisions of Official Secrets Act 1923 read with section 2(1)(d) (persons subject to the Act) and 59(4) (civil offences) of the Pakistan Army Act 1952, which are offences/charges triable in the domain of ‘court martial’ under the Pakistan Army Act 1952”.

Therefore, it added, the “suspect […] is liable to be inquired, investigated and tried by military authorities by court martial”.

It then proceeded to request the Sarwar Road police that the “custody of the accused be delivered to military authorities in accordance with Section 549(3) (delivery to military authorities of persons liable to be tried by court martial) of the [Code of Criminal Procedure] for inquiry, investigation to the extent of charges under the provisions of Official Secrets Act 1923, and subsequent trial by the court martial under the Pakistan Army Act 1952”.

Today, before the LHC began hearing Niazi’s father’s plea, the police submitted a report in the court, detailing the offences in which the former was found to be allegedly involved.

The report was submitted by Punjab Additional Advocate General (AAG) Ghulam Sarwar while Justice Sultan Tanveer presided over the hearing.

During today’s hearing, the AAG informed the LHC, “Hassaan Niazi has been handed over to the military”. He added that Niazi was “named in the Jinnah House attack case and was a main suspect”.

The court directed the AAG to “ask the relevant authorities if a meeting between the father and son could be held”.

The court granted the state prosecutor time to let Niazi’s father meet his son and adjourned the hearing till 2pm later today upon the petitioner’s request.

The police report submitted to the LHC recalled that Niazi had been declared a proclaimed offender in a terror case filed against him by the Sarwar Road police.

It went on to state that “after fulfilling codal formalities”, the Sarwar Road in-charge investigation “apprehended him from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”. The report also recalled the letter sent by the commanding officer for the delivery of Niazi’s custody.

It added that in response to the said request, the custody of the accused was delivered for “inquiry, investigation and subsequent trial under section 76 (arrest by civil authorities) of Army Act, read with section 59(4) of the Pakistan Army Act 1952, after fulfilment of the codal formalities”.

The hearing

At the outset of the hearing, the AAG informed the LHC, “Hassaan Niazi has been handed over to the military”. He added that Niazi was “named in the Jinnah House attack case and was a main suspect”.

The court directed the AAG to “ask the relevant authorities if a meeting between the father and son could be held”.

Faizullah, Naizi’s father’s lawyer, contended, “Hassaan Niazi should have been handed over to the military through the court. But the SHO did not do so and played a role contrary to the law.”

He further told the court that Naizi had been arrested on August 13, adding that no transitory remand of Niazi had been sought from any court.

The lawyer requested the court to summon the Sarwar Road SHO and “ask him why took such an unlawful action”.

At this, Justice Tanveer asked Faizullah what request he wanted to make to the court, to which the latter replied, “The police unlawfully handed over Hassaan Niazi to the military immediately after yesterday’s hearing. The court may declare this action as unlawful.”

The lawyer then proceeded to request that Hafeezullah be allowed to meet his detained son.

The judge asked if the state prosecutor had any objections to the counsel’s request, to which the latter responded that he “would have to see the rules and regulations”.

“Hassaan Naizi’s detention is lawful. I reject these allegations of the petitioner’s lawyer,” the AAG said.

Subsequently, the court granted the state prosecutor time to let Niazi’s father meet his son and adjourned the hearing till 2pm later today upon the petitioner’s request.

Niazi’s father’s petition

The petition was filed on August 15 by Hafeezullah, Niazi’s father, through Advocate Faizullah Khan Niazi and lists Punjab Inspector General Dr Usman Anwar, Lahore Capital City Police Officer Bilal Siddique Kamyana, the Sarwar Road station house officer (SHO), and the State as the respondents.

According to it, at around 11:30pm on August 13, the Punjab police raided a house in Abbottabad where Niazi “had been residing and abducted him without reason and took him to an unknown location”.

It further said the “police gave no reason for the abduction” and “did not present any search warrant, arrest warrant or any grounds of arrest”. The petition added that the police has taken Niazi “to merely harass him and pressurise him without any due cause of reason”.

The plea argued that the respondents did not adhere to due process of law as stipulated in the very concept of a “fair trial” and “due process”. It further contended that the detention was in violation of Niazi’s rights as protected in Article 9 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

The petition alleged that the PTI leader had not been “informed about the allegations and charges against him” and nor was produced before a court within 24 hours of his arrest.

It also argued that Niazi’s detention violated Articles 10A and 14 of the Constitution.

Seeking directions to the respondents to immediately release Niazi, the plea also requested that his detention be declared “illegal, unlawful and without lawful authority”.

It further asked the LHC to issue directives for an inquiry to be “initiated into the illegal, unlawful and without-law authority actions of the respondents”.



Source link

Leave a Comment