LHC directs ‘all agencies’ to work together to find anchorperson Imran Riaz

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The Lahore High Court (LHC) has directed “all the agencies” to work together to find anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan — whose whereabouts remain unknown since his arrest at the Sialkot airport on May 11 — and produce him in the court by Tuesday (May 30).

The LHC’s directive was issued in a written order following yesterday’s hearing during which Lahore police Deputy Inspector General (Investigation) Kamran Adil told the high court that both the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI) had said that Khan was not in their custody.

In the order issued today, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the court observed that a report was submitted to it on behalf of the interior ministry secretary that “stipulates denial of arrest/detention of the missing person by the proceedings on behalf of the Ministry of Defence”.

The order further stated that no one had attended court proceedings on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and “no report pertaining to steps taken by the agencies working under their control” sought by the court in an order dated May 22, 2023 was found among documents submitted to it by police.

“Therefore, all the agencies are directed to work together in terms of the order dated May 22, 2023, to effect the recovery of the missing person/detenue and produce him in the court on May 30, 2023,” the order read.

It also stated that the additional inspector general (legal) submitted documents and a written report to the court to “substantiate that a working group constituted under the direction of this court’s order has taken extraordinary steps to find out the whereabouts of the missing person/detenue, which although remained unsuccessful, and requested for the grant of three/four days’ more time with the hope that they will try their best to recover him”.

Riaz’s lawyer, Mian Ali Ashfaq, also confirmed the development to Dawn.com, saying that the court order “clearly suggests that all institutions working under the provincial and federal government have to ensure that all resources at their disposal are employed and extend full cooperation for the safe recovery” of the anchorperson.

Imran Riaz’s arrest

Riaz was among the individuals apprehended in the wake of protests that erupted in the country after the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Later, his lawyer told Dawn.com that a writ petition was filed on May 12 over the anchorperson’s arrest and the LHC directed the attorney general to present him before the court the same day. But, after its orders were not followed, Sialkot police were given a 48-hour deadline to recover Imran.

A first information report (FIR) pertaining to the matter was registered with Civil Lines police on May 16 on the complaint of the anchorperson’s father, Muhammad Riaz.

The FIR was registered against “unidentified persons” and police officials for allegedly kidnapping Imran, invoking Section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) of the Pakistan Penal Code.