IHC CJ reprimands Islamabad IG for crackdown on Baloch protesters

IG apprises IHC that 52 Baloch women were arrested and would be produced before local court today

This image shows Baloch marchers staging a sit-in in Islamabad on December 20, 2023. — X/@sommulbaloch
  • IHC directs police to hand over detainees to long march organisers.
  • Hamid Mir says police snatched his mobile and misbehaved with him.
  • “You don’t do what you are supposed to do,” IHC CJ scolds IG.

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamir Farooq on Friday chided Islamabad Inspector General (IG) Dr Akbar Nasir Khan over the recent crackdown against the Baloch women and men during a demonstration against “enforced disappearances” outside the National Press Club in the federal capital.

On Wednesday night, the Islamabad police used “excessive force” and rounded up all the Baloch protestors, who converged in the capital to stage a protest demonstration. The long march led by Baloch women had started their journey from Balochistan on December 6.

The police action against the Baloch women and men triggered widespread condemnations from human rights bodies and political parties. Even the federal ministers admitted that the “protestors who reached Islamabad from Balochistan were not involved in the violence”.

They, however, were of the view that the force was used to avoid a “catastrophe” in the federal capital.

Hearing a petition filed by long march organisers Sami Baloch and Abdul Salam a day earlier, the IHC ruled: “Let them protest who have come to protest, it’s their constitutional right.”

The court sought a detailed report regarding the number of Baloch protestors arrested during the police action and adjourned the hearing by today.

At the outset of today’s hearing, the Islamabad IG apprised the court that 52 Baloch women were arrested and would be produced before the local court today.

At this, the court ordered the police to hand over the detainees to organisers of the long march.

Meanwhile, senior journalist Hamid Mir apprised the court that the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police barred him from performing his professional duty when he reached the women’s police station where Baloch women were being brought by “dragging”.

“Yesterday, the court was informed that all the women have been released. Three interim ministers, while addressing a joint presser conference reiterated that all the women were freed but I came to know that none of them were released. Hence, I reached the police station for coverage, where Baloch women were being brought by dragging.”

He further said that the police officials snatched his mobile phone and misbehaved with him.

Meanwhile, the IG apologised to the senior journalist for the police’s behaviour.

At this, the IHC, while addressing the IG remarked: “Street crimes have increased. You don’t do what you are supposed to do.”

The chief justice said he would issue a detailed verdict in this regard and adjourned the hearing. The IHC two-member bench will resume hearing on the case next week.

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