ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected Islamabad Deputy Commissioner (DC) Irfan Nawaz Memon’s appeal for unconditional pardon after he failed to appear for a contempt of court hearing against him.

In a session presided over by IHC Justice Babar Sattar, the court ordered Memon to respond to a show-cause notice issued in the case by Monday, and he was also restricted from traveling overseas. Justice Sattar also denied his request to transfer the contempt-of-court matter to another bench.

Despite the denial of DC Islamabad’s request for an exemption from attendance, the court issued a show-cause notice for his non-appearance. Justice Sattar stated that he will give a decision on the matter next week.

The IHC had ordered Memon’s arrest the day before and urged authorities to place his name on a no-fly list for failing to appear in a contempt case over the imprisonment of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shehryar Afridi under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance.

The legislation gives the government broad detention powers, and officials utilized them to gather up and imprison PTI leaders after the May 9 riots.

Justice Sattar was hearing the case against Islamabad DC and Islamabad Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Malik Jamil Zafar for going beyond their powers by making instructions under Section 3 of the MPO.

Meanwhile, Memon, who attended today’s session, stated that he had not missed any of the case’s 18 hearings and has left himself at the mercy of the court.

Justice Sattar, who was unhappy with the DC for his prior absence, said, “Do you think this is a joke? You are being held in contempt of court [case].” You issued 69 MPO orders over 970 days.”

Memon’s lawyer, Raja Rizwan Abbasi, requested that the matter be heard later since he was agitated throughout the hearing.

“This case was supposed to be completed yesterday, but it could not be done because of you,” the IHC judge said, querying DC Islamabad about the court’s ruling.

“I cannot even consider disobeying the court order,” Memon said.

When urging the transfer of the contempt case to another bench, Justice Sattar questioned DC Islamabad if benches will henceforth be created based on his preferences.

DC Islamabad’s absence from court was not an impediment to justice, according to his lawyer, who added that Memon had no intention to undermining the court’s authority.

“The court is requested to dismiss the contempt of court case,” he told the judge.

Memon’s attorney read the charge against DC Islamabad during his argument.

“There are three types of contempt of court: civil, criminal, and judicial.” “This court action was initiated due to obstruction of justice,” he stated, claiming that the issue does not fall under section 6 of contempt of court.

According to Abbasi, the three MPO orders were annulled due to a court direction, and a new MPO order was issued subsequently, the second of which was issued by district magistrate Rawalpindi.

“If there was contempt of court, it was not by DC Islamabad, but by DC Rawalpindi,” the lawyer stated, adding that he does not wish to blame anyone.

He requested the court to consider the overall circumstances.

“On August 5, Shehryar Afridi’s party leader was apprehended. The scenario on May 9 is also in front of everyone,” he added, adding that the Intelligence Bureau had warned the capital’s government of the deteriorating law and order situation and agitation.

He said that the district intelligence committee, which includes officials from all sensitive agencies, was concerned about assaults on government structures, including GHQ Chowk near F-9 Park in Islamabad.

According to Abbasi, the district magistrate issued the MPO decision with no malice.

“On May 16, the initial MPO order was cancelled. MPO orders were given even after show cause notices were filed in the case,” Justice Sattar stated, adding that the court can only argue that the ruling is incorrect.

It came to an end when “we removed their power” to issue MPO directives, the IHC judge explained.

The lawyer contended that the law and order crisis may have resulted in someone’s death if the injunction had not been granted.

“In this situation, the court should have asked why action was not taken in the light of intelligence reports,” the lawyer said.

Meanwhile, Abbasi showed a transcript of Shehryar Afridi’s incendiary statements before his detention. He claimed that the politician used threatening language and attempted to stir people by his statements.

Shah Khawar, the lawyer for Senior Superintendent of Police Operations Jameel Zafar, also submitted his views throughout the session.

“The police might have evidence that Shehryar Afridi provoked the mob while sitting in jail?” Justice Sattar questioned the SSP.

“Did you recommend issuing MPO against these people also?” The judge questioned him.

“Our focus was on leadership,” the SSP explained.

“What do you do with a man who is already in jail? Put him in jail again?” Justice Sattar commented and directed him to present the district intelligence committee’s composition and terms of reference.

Following the conclusion of his lawyer’s arguments, the SSP requested an unconditional apologies from the court.

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