LAHORE:Declaring detention of PTI leaders and workers, including senior party leader Dr. Yasmin Rashid, in connection with incidents of violence on May 9, 2023 null and void, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered their immediate release. As many as 45 detainees, belonging to 11 districts of Punjab namely Lahore, Wazirabad, Jhang, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, Sialkot, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujrat, Nankana Sahib, Narowal and Gujranwala, had challenged their detention orders by deputy commissioners in the LHC.
In his verdict on the petitions, Justice Safdar Salim Shahid wrote that reaction to the arrest of a political leader on May 9 was unfortunate. “And unfortunately the government, too, ordered the arrest of thousands of PTI leaders and workers in a rush without taking into account the consequences,” read the verdict. The judge further wrote that if the government had any evidence of the involvement of these people in acts of violence, it had lot of time to order their arrests.
Furthermore, the decision read, those taken into custody must be knowing the charges against them so that they could defend themselves. The court said unluckily the events of May 9 presented a ‘distorted’ picture of a democratic and peaceful country to the world. “It was the government’s duty to enforce writ of the state on that day. It is extremely unfortunate that police picked up and dumped a political party’s leaders and workers in jails without registering cases against them,” read the decision. The court observed that the notifications issued by deputy commissioners were the violation of section 3 of Public Maintenance Ordinance, 1960.