| An Opposition activist during an anti-government protest in Karachi. (AFP)
Islamabad, Nov. 1: The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) today petitioned the Lahore High Court against the “illegal arrest and detention” of its acting president Javed Hashmi.
Hashmi’s daughter, Memoona, also a member of parliament, pleaded in her petition that her father had been forcibly taken to an undisclosed location without the proper legal requirements.
“The court should issue orders for the recovery of my father, who is being detained in violation of recognised norms of decency and democracy,” Memona Hashmi said after filing her petition at the court here.
Syed Zafar Ali Shah, one of Hashmi’s counsels, said the Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court may hear the petition on Monday, November 3.
Javed Hashmi had been arrested late on Wednesday from his residence after being charged with treason following a complaint by dubious private individual for “using provocative language against the armed forces and fanning hatred against them.”
Hashmi had earlier last week produced a letter at a press conference, which he claimed he had received from an army officer. The controversial letter, though rejected by an army spokesman as “fabricated”, had called for an investigation into the conduct of the army in the political affairs of the country since the mid-Fifties, when General Ayub Khan overthrew a civilian government in a coup.
The European Union has also expressed surprise over the arrest of the Opposition leader.
“The EU’s first vice-chairman Thomas Mann sent a letter to the National Assembly Speaker,” PML () secretary information Siddique-ul-Farooque said.
“The reason for Hashmi’s arrest resides apparently in public statements he made about the existence of diverse political opinions within the armed forces and are being considered as abetting mutiny,” Mann said.
He requested the Speaker to inform a visiting delegation of EU parliamentarians about the extent of immunity MPs enjoy in Pakistan.
Interestingly, Hashmi was arrested after attending a dinner hosted by the Opposition parties for the EU delegation.
According to the PML() leaders, Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain has not issued production order for Javed Hashmi yet.
“The speaker has not done it probably for fear of non-compliance by the government, in which case he shall have to cut a sorry figure,” said Chaudhry Nisar Hussain, an Opposition leader, negotiating with the Speaker.
Irked over Hashmi’s detention, MPs representing Pakistan’s Mutahida Majlis-e-Ammal (MMA) and Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) yesterday announced a “go Musharraf” campaign after Ramadan.