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Court bars police from arresting lawyer Imaan Mazari, Baloch students in sedition case

Updated 04 Mar, 2022
Islamabad police registered the case against MNA Mohsin Dawar and Imaan along with several students for participating in a Baloch students protest outside the National Press Club. @Adnan17729886/ Twitter
Islamabad police registered the case against MNA Mohsin Dawar and Imaan along with several students for participating in a Baloch students protest outside the National Press Club. @Adnan17729886/ Twitter

The Islamabad High Court on Friday barred police from arresting lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazari and Baloch students who had been charged in a sedition case in the federal capital for protesting against "enforced disappearances".

Lawyer and human rights activist Imaan, who is the daughter of Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, filed a petition in the IHC against the case.

Issuing orders on Friday, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah directed the police to provide copy of the First Information Report to the petitioner and ordered the interior minister's secretary and Islamabad inspector general to appear before the court on Monday.

Following the court orders, police issued a copy of the FIR.

In his arguments, the petitioner's lawyer said police used force against Baloch students and dozens of them were injured during a baton charge.

The police noted that not only students but security officials were also injured in the incident.

At this CJ Minallah said the version of students from Balochistan has to be heard and sedition cases would be filed against those who were suppressing the voice of students.

Earlier, lawyer Imaan stated in the petition that sealing the FIR and not providing the copy to the persons was an open violation of law. The petitioner pleaded that the copy of the FIR should be provided to her and the operation initiated through it should be suspended so that she is not harassed.

In the petition, the lawyer noted that she joined the Baloch students' protest, who were protesting against "enforced disappearances" and for their rights, as per the constitutional right of freedom of expression.

Police baton charged the protesting Baloch students in front of the National Press Club and then registered an FIR against all of them, including her, Imaan, read the plea, adding that she came to know about the case and the sedition charges against her through the media.

It added that police was not providing copies of the FIR to those who had been accused in the case and that the lawyer feared that she would be arrested.

Journalist Defence Committee lawyers Usman Warraich, Babar Hayat Samoor, Aftab Alam and others filed the plea on behalf of Imaan in which the respondents are the Interior Ministry secretary, Islamabad inspector general, District magistrate and Kohsar police station SHO.

Islamabad police had registered a case against MNA Mohsin Dawar and Imaan along with several students for participating in a Baloch students protest outside the National Press Club.

The demonstrators gathered at the press club to protest against the enforced disappearances, racial profiling and surveillance of Baloch students. The sit-in was arranged by the Baloch Students Council Islamabad to demand the release of Baloch MPhil student Hafeez Baloch, who was allegedly abducted from a classroom where he was offering science tuitions. Hafeez is a student at Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam university and is the latest in the series of cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan.