Both the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) have said that controversial anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan isn’t in their custody, one of Lahore’s top police officers, DIG (Investigation) Kamran Adil, informed the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday.
DIG Kamran Adil made the remarks as the court heard a plea seeking the recovery of Imran Riaz, whose whereabouts are unknown since his arrest on May 11.
The anchorperson was apprehended in the wake of the May 9 unrest and violence following PTI chairman Imran Khan’s arrest.
During the hearing, the court directed the counsels of the journalist to approach police with any evidence that they may have, related to the disappearance.
At the last hearing, Punjab police’s top commander, inspector general (IG) Dr Usman Anwar informed the court that there was no trace or record of Riaz at any police department across the province.
The LHC then directed the ministries of interior and defence to “discharge their constitutional duties to effect the recovery” of the outspoken anchorperson.
Read this too: There Has Been No Better Time To Scrap Preventative Detention Laws
On the grounds of “utilising his platform for spreading hate speech” and thereby instigating people against the state, an act deemed by security agencies as prejudicial to peace, security and public safety, controversial journalist and prime-time news anchor Imran Riaz Khan was detained for a duration of 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960, through Order bearing No. HC/1002 dated 11 May 2023, issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Sialkot.
The exercise of power to detain Imran Riaz Khan, as disclosed in the aforementioned order, was through notification No. SO(JUDL-III)2-1/2017 dated 20 July 2017, issued by the Home Department of the Government of Punjab.
Similarly, many others were detained under the guise of maintaining peace and tranquility by deploying the 1960 Ordinance for maintaining public order, as at least 17 people were ordered to be kept in custody for 30 days vide Order No. RDM/373, dated 10 May 2023, issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Lahore.
Despite being the victims of preventative detention many times themselves, there seems to be no hesitation among Pakistan’s political class to protect the civil rights of their fellow countrymen. Preventative detention laws, and their aggressive application onto a specific political force that has ‘fallen out of favour’, are a fundamental danger to the rights and liberties of all citizens of Pakistan, for whose protection the Constitution was framed.
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