ISLAMABAD: Human rights lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir’s counsel, Barrister Salman Akram Raja, on Wednesday said the Islamabad High Court (IHC) made it clear that his client could not be arrested in any cases registered after August 20, the day she was taken into custody.
In a video posted on X (formerly Twitter) by journalist Asad Toor, Barrister Raja can be heard explaining the IHC order in Imaan’s case, saying that that the court issued directives to present a record of all the FIRs registered against her throughout the country so that they could be reviewed by the judges.
“The court has said that since she was arrested on Aug 20, if any FIR is registered after that date, she will not be arrested in that,” her lawyer said.
“If this court can grant relief, we will take it from here otherwise from other concerned courts,” Barrister Raja further said. “Or we will file for a protective bail in this court.”
“We contended before the court that the fundamental rights mentioned in the law and Constitution are for every citizen of the country. If any citizen says something, no matter if you like it or not, even if you think that it shouldn’t have been said, despite all that, the Constitution trumps it.
“The Constitution is not just for people who say good things or say things that we want to hear. It is also for those who utter things that we think shouldn’t have been said.
“Now we will see what comes in the order tomorrow,” Barrister Raja further said. “Today’s hearing went pretty well.”
He also confirmed that the high court had ordered to not shift Mazari out of the jurisdiction of Islamabad in any case.
On Aug 20, Mazari and former lawmaker Ali Wazir were arrested “for investigation” hours after the activist posted on social media platform X that unidentified people were breaking into her home.
She was re-arrested outside the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on Aug 28, hours after an Islamabad anti-terrorism court granted her bail in a sedition case.
Confirming the arrest, the Islamabad police had said Imaan was taken into custody in a terrorism case registered at the Bhara Kahu police station. On Aug 29, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad had handed her over to the police on a three-day physical remand.
The fresh FIR has been sealed, but according to a copy seen by Dawn, the case was registered under Section 11-N of the Anti-Terrorism Act, as well as sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Section 11-N of the ATA deals with punishment under sections 11-H to 11-K, which include charges of fund-raising, use and possession, funding arrangements, and money laundering for the purpose of terrorism.
The case was registered on Sunday at 1:15am in response to a complaint lodged by one Shahzad, resident of Nai Abadi Bhara Kahu, against Imaan, Wazir, and others, they added.
Sources had quoted the FIR as mentioning that a man, Kamran Khan, met Shahzad in the area of Bhara Kahu on August 8 and introduced himself as a human rights activist. He also told the complainant about human rights issues in his area, expressed his intention to work with him to improve the situation, and sought his assistance to achieve it, according to the report.