IHC indicts several officials in contempt case
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) took significant steps on Thursday by indicting several individuals, including Deputy Commissioner Irfan Nawaz Memon, in a contempt case related to the prolonged detention of PTI leaders Shehryar Afridi and Shandana Gulzar under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance. Presiding over the hearing, Justice Babar Sattar also brought charges against Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) operations Jamil Zafar, Superintendent of Police (SP) Farooq Buttar, and Margalla Station House Officer (SHO) Nasir Manzoor.
This development followed a decision by the IHC, just a day prior, to strip the district magistrate of Islamabad of the authority to detain suspects under the MPO while addressing the same case. The PTI leaders, Shehryar Afridi and Shandana Gulzar, had been held in police custody in connection with the May 9 violence, with Afridi's initial arrest on May 16 and Gulzar's detention on August 9. On August 16, the IHC permitted Afridi and Gulzar's release and decided to proceed with the contempt charges against the DC and SSP due to their unsatisfactory responses to the court.
In the course of today's proceedings, DC Memon offered an unconditional apology to the court and appealed to avoid his indictment. However, after the indictment, both the DC and the three other officers denied the charges. SSP Zafar requested additional time to prepare his defense. Advocate General Ayaz Shaukat argued against indicting the officials, emphasizing their unconditional apology. However, Justice Sattar pointed out the seriousness of the contempt of court issue, given the circumstances.
Addressing the officials, Justice Sattar reminded them that the potential sentence for contempt is six months, suggesting they experience what it's like for those they detain. DC Memon insisted that the detention order was not intended to violate the court's order and presented an unconditional apology, which was rejected. Subsequently, DC Memon was indicted, followed by the initiation of proceedings to indict SSP Zafar. The SSP denied the charges and sought more time to defend himself. Similarly, SP Buttar and SHO Manzoor were also indicted, with them also denying the charges, and the hearing was adjourned.