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File picture shows Shireen Mazari, centre, leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: A court in Pakistan’s capital has ordered an investigation into the controversial arrest of a former human rights minister over a decades old land dispute.

Chief Justice Ather Minallah of the Islamabad High Court late Saturday ordered the probe in response to a petition from the daughter of former minister Shireen Mazari.

Minallah questioned the decision by officials in Islamabad to allow police from a Punjab provincial district to make the arrest in the capital.

Mazari, who served in the Cabinet-level position under former Prime Minister Imran Khan, had been detained by police near her Islamabad home earlier in the day.

Fawad Chaudhry, former information minister in Khan’s administration, alleged that Mazari - the senior leader in Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party - had been politically targeted by the new administration of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif under the guise of a land dispute dating back to 1972.

Hours after Mazari’s arrest, Chief Minister of Punjab province Hamza Shahbaz ordered her release and late Saturday she was brought to the Islamabad court for an urgent hearing. She was then released.

Mazari has been critical of Sharif’s government on Twitter since Khan’s government was toppled in a no-confidence vote in Parliament last month. Khan’s party lawmakers resigned from the body’s lower house in protest and Khan is mobilising supporters through public rallies across the country to pressure the government into an early election.

The court also instructed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad to ensure return of Mazari’s mobile phone and other belongings. Advocate General Islamabad Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon told the court that the “federal government was not aware of the matter.”

Jadoon told the IHC that the Punjab anti-corruption department had arrested Mazari in coordination with the capital’s police.

The advocate-general told the court that if the prerequisite legal requirements were not fulfilled in the arrest of Mazari, then action will be taken against those responsible. Inspector-General Islamabad Muhammad Ahsan Younas told the court that he assumed office today. Advocate General Punjab said that the government would conduct inquiry of the arrest of Mazari and responsible would be fixed. The court adjourned the case with above instructions.