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“LHC Breaks the Chains: PTI’s Sher Afzal Marwat Set Free!”

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday ordered the release of PTI Senior Vice President Sher Afzal Marwat, who was detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) last week.

Marwat was arres­ted from outside the LHC on Dec 14, where he had arrived to join a protest. Footage of his arrest shared by the PTI on X (formerly Twitter) had shown policemen dragging him by the collar as several lawyers tried to stop them. He was later moved to an undisclosed location.

Police sources had told Dawn that the arrest was made under the MPO. The law emp­owers the police to detain a person considered “prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order”.

The arrest was strongly criticised by PTI leaders and lawyers’ bodies. A statement shared by the party had held the caretaker government responsible for “acting as a facilitator” during the “unabated lawlessness”.

On Friday, the LHC issued notices to the police and the Lahore deputy commissioner on a petition filed by Marwat’s brother seeking the quashing of the PTI leader’s detention orders.

Today, the Punjab government submitted its response in court. It stated that the notification challenging Marwat’s detention was issued by the DC and the petitioner should approach the relevant forum for the PTI leader’s release.

“The plea regarding Sher Afzal Marwat’s release should have been first submitted to the Punjab government,” Advocate Mohsin Abbas, the government’s counsel, said. He further appealed that the petition be disposed of.

However, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry rejected the government’s request and ordered that the PTI leader be released against surety bonds.

Marwat, one of the counsels for former prime minister Imran Khan, was catapulted into the spotli­g­­ht over the past few weeks due to his fiery addresses at the PTI’s public events.

The lawyer, who has only recently been appointed the senior vice president of the party, has been at the forefront at a time when the majority of the party’s core leadership is in hiding or has parted ways.

Earlier this month, Marwat had accused the police of attempting to “abduct” him near the Gulabad area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Lower Dir district.

Subsequently, the Peshawar High Court had ordered the KP government not to arrest Marwat until further orders in four cases recently registered against him after he attended his party’s conventions in the province.

In October, a case was registered against Marwat in Dera Ismail Khan, on allegations of instigating the public against state institutions through social media. The case revolved around a video Marwat posted to his YouTube channel, where he purportedly tried to incite the public against state institutions to create chaos.

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