Pakistan News

Senate body for withdrawal of case against family of Shahbaz Gill’s driver

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday condemned the arrest and proceedings against Saira Zafar, the wife of Shahbaz Gill’s driver Izharullah Khan, and her family.

The committee was of the view that a grave and serious violation of human rights had been committed and unanimously stressed on withdrawal of the case against them.

Committee members met under the chairmanship of Senator Walid Iqbal at the Parliament House to receive a briefing by the ministries of human rights and interior as well as the inspector general of police (Islamabad) on the application received from Malik Zafar Iqbal, father of Saira Zafar, regarding her arrest and the police raid on her house in the early hours of Thursday (Aug 11) purportedly in search of Dr Shahbaz Gill’s mobile phone and laptop.

A week ago, Saira Zafar was arrested for allegedly rioting and assaulting a police party.

Police raid on their house was grave violation of human rights, members say

IGP Akbar Nasir Khan said the bail application had been accepted and the court had granted bail to the suspect. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had referred the matter to a sessions court for trial. A first information report (FIR) was registered against Saira Zafar and her brother Malik Noman Raza, charging them under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

One of the members asked the IGP under what provision of law could relatives of a person wanted for committing an offence, particularly the spouse and mother of a 10-month-old child, be arrested, to which Mr Khan responded by saying that no person could be arrested on the basis of their relationship, however, the police may arrest any person who was found to be involved in a criminal charge.

“Any person can be arrested if he or she was found to be involved in violation of law or a criminal offence and hence no constitutional violation had been committed by the local police while arresting the accused person as she had used criminal force while assaulting the police party and made obstruction in discharge of their lawful duty, which is considered an offence as per the PPC,” the IGP said.

The matter was under active investigation and had to be dealt with at an appropriate forum in an appropriate manner and would be dealt as per law, he added.

The committee chairman said the sole objective of the committee was to protect and safeguard the basic rights of the people irrespective of religion, caste or creed. He said “arrest and search” without warrant besides moving someone from one police station to another blindfolded and locking up without offence were grave violations of human rights.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said the sanctity of the home and privacy of someone had been violated within the federal capital to search for a missing mobile phone which was condemned above party lines.

“Human rights committee is not about politics but about the people of Pakistan,” he said.

Senator Irfanul Haq Siddiqui said such actions should be based on equality and should not be person specific or party specific.

Senators Seemee Ezdi and Irfanul Haq Siddiqui recommended others that visits should be conducted to Adiala jail to inquire about the number of similar cases and hygiene of the jails.

The chairperson of National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR), Rabiya Javeri Agha, said 80pc of women in Pakistan were under trial including those who were mothers of infants. She said legislation should be formulated on bailable and non-bailable offences to save and protect the rights of women like Saira Zafar.

Minister for Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada condemned the arrest of Saira Zafar, adding that the proceedings should be withdrawn once the investigation was completed and she was proved innocent.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022

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