In a recent development, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the vice chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former foreign minister, has allegedly been denied legal access at Adiala Jail, according to his lawyer. Taimur Malik, Qureshi’s legal representative, stated in a press conference that neither he nor Qureshi’s daughter has been allowed to meet with the PTI leader in jail. Malik emphasized that an undertaking cannot be submitted without first consulting Qureshi, and the legal team will make another attempt to visit him today.
It is noteworthy that Qureshi remains in police custody despite the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruling five days ago that his arrest was illegal. Justice Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb, who presided over Qureshi’s plea against his arrest under the Maintenance of Public Order Act, deemed the arrest null and void and ordered his release pending the signing of an undertaking.
However, the crackdown on PTI leaders continues despite the court’s intervention. The arrests of PTI members were a result of violent protests that erupted following the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan, during which sensitive state and military institutions were targeted.
During the proceedings, Qureshi’s legal team, consisting of Barrister Faiza Asad and Taimur Malik, requested protective bail and details of the cases registered against Qureshi. The court has issued notices to the Inspector General of Police and the Interior Secretary, seeking their replies, and adjourned the proceedings until May 24. Malik also urged the court to order the authorities to clarify if there are any additional cases registered against Qureshi beyond those already known to the legal team.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, addressing a meeting on law and order in Lahore, reiterated that those involved in vandalism and anti-state activities, including planning, incitement, raising slogans against the armed forces, and using abusive language, would not be spared. Shehbaz described the incidents of May 9 as a dark day in Pakistan’s history and accused the PTI of committing acts detrimental to the state. The government has repeatedly accused Imran Khan of masterminding the attacks.
In response, Imran Khan has called for an independent investigation into the vandalism, alleging that it was a well-planned conspiracy aimed at weakening and eliminating the PTI.
The denial of legal access to Shah Mehmood Qureshi raises concerns about the due process of law and the protection of individuals’ rights. It is essential that all individuals, regardless of their political affiliation, have access to legal representation and are afforded fair treatment under the law. The ongoing legal proceedings will shed light on the specific charges against Qureshi and determine the course of action moving forward.