The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Saturday night ordered the federal government to carry out a judicial inquiry related to the arrest of former federal minister and senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari. The IHC CJ, noting that the arrest was apparently “illegal”, ordered the immediate release of Mazari and asked the authorities to return the ex-federal minister’s phone to her. The court issued the orders hours after instructing the interior secretary to produce the PTI leader at 11:30pm. Mazari was manhandled and arrested from outside her Islamabad residence earlier in the day by police officials over a land ownership and transfer case. IHC CJ told the inspector-general that no member of the National Assembly (MNA), belonging to the PTI, has been de-notified yet and the court has already issued a directive that no MNA should be arrested before informing the NA speaker. “There is one Constitution and the court runs on that Constitution […] the IG will have to take responsibility; I cannot say that the [court’s] registrar is responsible,” the IHC CJ said. Moving on, Attorney-General Islamabad Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon told the IHC that the “federal government was not aware of the matter.” In response, the IHC CJ said how could police from any province come to the capital and arrest people. The attorney general told the IHC that the Punjab anti-corruption department had arrested Mazari in coordination with the capital’s police. At the onset of the hearing, Mazari told the court: “I was stopped on the Motorway for an hour. A male doctor tried to conduct my medical examination. They did not have a female officer with them. Officers of Anti-Corruption Punjab were taking instructions on the phone. My bag was also searched without a warrant, while I have still not been given my phone back.” “There was another person with the anti-corruption officials and he probably was with the ISI,” she added. At this, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah rued that the government had not taken any action on enforced disappearances. “These incidents happen when the Constitution is not respected. Every government exhibits woeful behaviour on constitutional violations.” Mazari told Justice Minallah that she was 70 and sick but was still subjected to torture. The chief justice remarked: “This court will not compromise on its jurisdiction. The abduction of Matiullah Jan has not been probed till date.” At this, the deputy attorney general replied: “We cannot work 24/7. Work on Matiullah Jan’s case is ongoing and we will conclude the investigation soon.” The chief justice wondered how it was possible that no one knew the details of Mazari’s arrest. He reminded newly appointed Inspector General (IG) of Islamabad police, Dr Akbar Nasir Khan that the head of the organisation was ultimately responsible. “Tell us till when can you complete the investigation [in Mazari’s case]?” “I have taken the charge just today. This incident had happened prior my taking of charge,” the capital police chief replied. The advocate general, meanwhile, thanked the court for opening its doors late night. “The political parties will now have to acknowledge that the court is here to ensure constitutional protection even at night.” Mazari’s daughter requested the court to order a judicial inquiry – a request that was granted as the chief justice ordered Mazari’s release until the probe was conducted. Speaking to journalists before entering the courtroom, Mazari said: “I still did not get my phone back.” The ex-federal minister claimed that the police did not show her the arrest warrants before taking her into custody, adding that she believes PML-N, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah were behind her arrest. Punjab’s anti-corruption department had arrested PTI leader Mazari Saturday afternoon, but hours after the authority’s move, Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz ordered her immediate release. In a three-page order, IHC CJ Athar Minallah said: “The authorities shall explain under what authority of law the fundamental rights of Dr Shireen Mazari were violated while she was within the jurisdiction of this Court.” The IHC’s order came after the PTI leader’s daughter, Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, filed a petition against her mother being “illegally abducted by officials of the Punjab Police”. The court noted that the ex-federal minister was not de-notified as a member of the National Assembly, therefore, her arrest was not in line with the law as before any MNA’s arrest, the NA speaker should be informed.