May 26th, 2021 

By Ahmed Saeed 


A judicial magistrate of the Model Town courts in Lahore on Wednesday extended the judicial remand of PML-N MNA Javed Latif for six days and ordered jail authorities to present him before the court on June 2.

In today’s hearing, jail authorities failed to produce the imprisoned MNA to the court citing concerns apparently regarding coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs). The court subsequently directed the police to bring the complete record of the case in the next hearing, and issued summons for the investigating officer (IO) of the case.

But Latif’s absence has irked PML-N workers and supporters who were gathered outside the courtroom in solidarity with the MNA. Some of the outraged workers burnt tires outside the Model Town courts to record their protest against their senior leader’s absence.

Latif’s brother Amjad Latif told that the government violated the law by not presenting his brother in court, and that he is deeply concerned about Javed Latif’s health.

“This government has a habit of violating every law of the land and the reason why Javed Latif is behind bars is that he is a staunch supporter of democracy and rule of law,” Amjad said.

He said that he and his family have not been allowed meeting the incarcerated lawmaker.

“We have no information about [Javed Latif’s] health because our requests for meetings have been denied. We were hoping to meet him today but they did not bring him today, which has raised our doubt about Javed’s health,” he added.

Former state minister and PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry also criticized the PTI government for Latif’s absence today, and said it has raised many questions.

“Are coronavirus SOPs not applicable to other prisoners? Are they only applicable to Latif’s family?” Chaudhry questioned. He added that even ‘Kulbushan Yadav’s mother was allowed to meet her son in an air-conditioned room, but the same rights were not being extended to Javed Latif.’

An FIR was registered against Javed Latif after he appeared in a TV program, in which he stated that if anything happened to Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N would not raise the slogan of “Long Live Pakistan.” He was subsequently slapped with charges of inciting violence and creating public unrest.

On similar charges of treason and anti-state speeches, another MNA Ali Wazir of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) has been kept behind bars for the past six months. A local court in Karachi heard his bail application on March 5 and reserved the verdict but it has yet to be pronounced.

President of the Supreme Court Bar Association Latif AfrIdi on May 25 penned a letter to the Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court, requesting him to intervene in the matter and announce the verdict at the earliest.

“In view of the judgment of the Supreme Court reported in MEMY Industries Limited vs Federation of Pakistan through Ministry of Commerce [PLD 2015 Supreme Court 1550], that if a reserved judgment is not announced within three months it will be reheard. Obviously, three months have not yet lapsed but in view of your Lordship’s heavy engagements in the judicial and administrative work the remaining 12-13 days can presumably be consumed unnoticed,” the letter stated.

It further said that “I am sure your Lordship would take immediate action as deemed fit and just in the given circumstances of the case.”