RAWALPINDI: In a sigh of relief for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the former ruling party’s Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi has been released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail on the court’s order.
The jail officials confirmed the development saying that the former foreign minister was released on the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench.
“I want to tell PTI workers that the ‘flag of justice’ is in my hands and I am still part of this movement,” he said while addressing the media outside the Adiala Jail soon after being released.
Qureshi, the former foreign minister, also said he would meet PTI Chairman Imran Khan tomorrow (Wednesday) at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore to discuss the prevailing political situation.
Apparently referring to the crackdown on party workers and leaders in the wake of the May 9 riots, the PTI senior leader said the party is facing “tough and testing times”.
“But don’t lose hope, ‘sun of justice’ will rise again,” he added.
Qureshi said he would brief the media on PTI’s future course of action after holding the meeting Khan — the former prime minister who was ousted from power through a vote of no confidence in April last year.
Earlier today, the LHC ordered the immediate release of the PTI leader. Qureshi, a former foreign minister, has been arrested multiple times following the May 9 violent riots.
While hearing a petition against his arrest, LHC’s Rawalpindi Bench ordered that Qureshi should not be arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO) anymore.
The court also declared Rawalpindi deputy commissioner’s MPO orders illegal and directed authorities to immediately release the PTI vice chairman without asking him to submit surety bonds.
Assistant Attorney General Abid Aziz Rajouri represented the government’s side, while lawyer Taimoor Malik and Qureshi’s daughter were there for the PTI leader.
During the hearing, the court inquired from the law officer if Qureshi had given any speech or led any protest.
“No political leader can control his words in a political gathering,” the court remarked while directing the law officer to present evidence against the former foreign minister if any.
At this, the official sought two days for the submission of evidence.
However, the court directed him to update the court within an hour after taking directives from the government.
The court then adjourned the hearing for an hour.
Meanwhile, the Punjab police presented a report on the cases against Qureshi.
As per the report, nine cases have been registered against Qureshi across Punjab. Four of these cases are registered in Lahore, while five cases are registered at different police stations in Multan.
The report was submitted upon the request of the PTI leader’s daughter.
It may be noted that several senior PTI leaders had been arrested after the protests erupted in response to PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9.
At least eight people were killed in clashes between PTI supporters and law enforcement agencies after his arrest on corruption charges.
Apart from Qureshi, Asad Umar, Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry and Yasmeen Rashid were among the prominent PTI names who had been taken into custody.
However, some of the leaders including Umar, Mazari and Chaudhry were released. Many of them have also quitted the party and parted ways with the former prime minister in condemnation of the violent protests.