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Home secretary, IGP summoned on plea against order to detain five men acquitted in Perween murder case

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday summoned the home secretary and inspector general of police in a petition challenging the detention order of five men issued under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance, 1960 despite their acquittal in the murder case of rights activist Perween Rahman.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha asked both the officials to appear in court on Dec 12 along with relevant material to justify the issuance of the impugned order.

Imran Swati, one of the acquitted persons, through his lawyer petitioned the SHC impugning the Dec 1, order issued by the home department on the recommendation of IGP for detention of all five men for a period of three months.

The lawyer for petitioner argued that the impugned order was malafide and there was no support of the same.

10 days after their release from prison, Sindh govt ordered police to arrest accused and detain them under MPO for 90 days

An additional prosecutor general, a deputy attorney general and an assistant advocate general waived the notice as they were present in courtroom in connection with some other cases.

The counsel for the petitioner undertook to provide a copy of the petition along with annexure to them during course of the day.

The bench directed the federal and provincial law officer as well as the additional prosecutor general to go through the same and file their comments without fail on the next hearing.

“The secretary, home department, government of Sindh and Inspector General of Sindh Police shall appear before this court on the next date of hearing along with relevant material which justified the issuance of the impugned order,” it added.

Ms Rahman, a renowned social worker and former head of the OPP, was gunned down near her office on Manghopir Road on March 13, 2013.

On Nov 21, the SHC had exonerated five appellants after overturning their conviction handed down by the trial court in Ms Rahman murder case.

An antiterrorism court had sentenced Rahim Swati, Amjad Hussain Khan, Ayaz Ali alias Swati and Ahmed Khan alias Pappu Kashmiri to life imprisonment in December 2021 after holding them guilty of facilitating, aiding and abetting the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan men for the murder of the rights activist.

The trial court had also handed down seven-year term to Imran Swati, son of Rahim, on charge of concealing evidence.

The jail authorities had released the accused persons a day after the judgement of SHC though the complainant had requested the provincial authorities to detain the accused persons under MPO Ordinance, 1960.

On Dec 1, the home department had issued an order on the recommendation of IGP stating that all the five men be arrested and detained for a period of 90 days under the MPO and their custody will be placed under the superintendent of the Karachi central prison.

It further said that the IG had communicated these five persons were hardened criminals who posed grave threat to the family specially her sister, Aquila Ismail, who was working as chairperson of OPP and the entire staff. But, they have so far not been arrested again.

Source: Dawn