ISLAMABAD - A local court Sunday granted bail to Irfan Siddiqui, a close aide to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, a day after he was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand. Later, he was released from Adiala jail.

Assistant Commissioner (AC) Mehreen Baloch granted him the bail and directed his release from the jail.

Irfan Siddiqui, who served as special assistant to former prime minister Nawaz on national affairs during the PML-N government, was arrested for violation of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and booked under Section 188 of the PPC for not informing the relevant police station about particulars of ‘his tenant’.

Under the law, the deputy commissioner Islamabad had directed all property owners to inform local police stations about particulars of their tenants. The case of Siddiqui grabbed much media attention though it was not the first of its kind case registered at a local police station.

Siddiqui was arrested late Friday night from his residence in Sector G-10, Islamabad, for not informing the area police while renting out his house under the tenancy law and was shifted to the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) police station after being kept at the Ramna police station of Islamabad for some time. Then, he was produced before a magistrate in handcuffs on Saturday and the assistant commissioner sent him to Adiala jail on a 14-day judicial remand.

Later, his lawyers filed a plea for bail and she approved his bail against surety bonds of Rs20,000. His tenant Javed Iqbal, who was sent to prison along with him, was also released against surety bonds of Rs20,000.

The bail petition filed by Siddiqui’s counsel was supposed to be heard on Monday (today) but Baloch commenced court over the weekend and granted Siddiqui a post-arrest bail even before his lawyers Abdul Khaliq Thind and Hafiz Munawar Iqbal reached her office. The AC’s staff called his lawyers to inform them of her order.

Later, Siddiqui’s legal team headed to Adiala jail with the magistrate’s order to secure his release. Police officials led him out through another gate, seemingly to avoid the media.

Speaking to media persons after his release, Siddiqui said that such an incident cannot take place in a [country that has a] democratic government that is just and values democratic norms.

He said that he was busy in writing at his house when the police arrested him. Siddiqui added that he was dragged into a car and was treated like a terrorist.

According to the FIR, a case was registered against Siddiqui under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint filed by a police officer.

The FIR registered at Ramna Police Station said that a tenant at house 168, street 53, sector G-10/3 Islamabad, Javed Iqbal told the police party that the house was owned by Irfan Siddiqui. However, according to police, he could not produce any proof for submitting the tenant’s particulars to relevant police station.

 

NA SPEAKER SUMMONS IGP ON SIDDIQUI’S ARREST

 

APP adds: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser Sunday took strict notice of the arrest and handcuffing of Irfan Siddiqui, a renowned columnist and educationist.

In this regard, the speaker has summoned the Inspector General Police (IGP) Islamabad to Parliament House along with a report on the matter on Monday, said a press release issued here.

Earlier, the speaker made a telephonic contact with the Minister for Interior and expressed his concern over the matter. Expressing his concern, the speaker demanded thorough probe of arresting and handcuffing of Irfan Siddiqui on mere alleged violation of tenancy law.

Asad Qaiser said that Irfan Siddiqui was a seasoned columnist and a renowned educationist whose arrest has raised concerns in the journalistic community and academia.

He said present government believes in freedom of expression and upholds independence of media. He reiterated that the rights as guaranteed under the constitution would not be compromised.