Court grants police two-day physical remand of Sheikh Rasheed
A district and sessions court in Islamabad sent Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed on two-day physical remand of police on Thursday. He was arrested by police late Wednesday following his remarks pertaining to former president Asif Ali Zardari during a television interview.
Judicial Magistrate Omar Shabbir, who rejected the eight-day remand request of police for the veteran politician, announced the reserved verdict.
The police said that if needed further remand would be sought in the next hearing as a forensic test has to be conducted.
It is yet to be known whether Sheikh Rasheed would be moved to Aabpara Police Station or some other. But, history says that political leaders are not taken to police stations due to security concerns as party supporters throng such places when their leaders are arrested.
So, political leaders and VVIPs are taken to different locations, according to Aaj News correspondent.
Supporters of AML chanted slogans in favour of Rashid, who was handcuffed by policemen, as he was brought outside the court.
“My spirits are high and justice will prevail,” the AML chief said in response to media queries.
The police presented the AML chief in the court of Judicial Magistrate Omar Shabbir
Prosecutor Adnan said that threats to the life of Zardari’s family were increasing after Rasheed’s claim that the former president was hatching a conspiracy to kill the PTI chief.
The prosecutor then requested a physical remand of the AML chief.
“Has Asif Zardari told you that he’s in danger?” the judge asked. Sheikh Rasheed has given statement himself, the prosecutor replied.
Adnan added that Sheikh Rasheed’s voice-matching test needs to be conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency and a photogrammetric test is needed as well.
The AML chief’s lawyers, Abdur Razzaq and Intizar Panjhota, then presented their arguments. They opposed the request for eight-day physical remand of their client and claimed that Rasheed was made a target of political vendetta.
“Whatever Imran said is true. He [Imran] has evidence against Asif Ali Zardari,” Sheikh Rasheed said.
The court reserved the verdict after hearing the arguments.
Sheikh Rasheed’s team to move IHC against arrest
Sheikh Rasheed’s arrest would be challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) tomorrow (Friday), a member of his legal team told reporters after the court decision.
He alleged that the police trampled the IHC’s decision by registering the FIR. The court had suspended the notice to arrest the AML chief.
“The way Sheikh Rasheed was involved in this case… now if the court has granted two-day physical remand… so if this case has started so it is necessary that those people about whom Imran Khan and Sheikh Rasheed hurled allegations should be interrogated,” Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, nephew of Sheikh Rasheed, said.
“If there is any law or justice then investigations should start over those accusations,” he said, adding that Sheikh Rasheed’s morale was high despite that “150 to 200 policemen barged into his house at 12:30am and tortured his three employees and looted his precious items.”
He added that they were moving high ups against the arrest.
The Islamabad police arrested the AML chief late Wednesday night.
“Islamabad Capital Police is fulfilling and will fulfill all legal requirements. Saying more about the condition in which Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has been arrested will affect the investigation,” it said in Twitter thread.
Sheikh Rasheed was arrested from a private housing society in Islamabad. However, he claimed that Islamabad Police illegally arrested him from within Punjab’s limits. He also questioned the arrest’s legality since he is already on bail till February 6.
Imran Khan condemned the arrest in a Tweet. “Never in our history have we had such a biased, vindictive Caretaker govt appt by totally discredited ECP,” he wrote.
A day earlier, Islamabad also lodged an FIR against PTI’s Shandana Gulzar over her criticism of military leaders on a TV show following the suicide attack in Peshawar that killed over 100 people.
The reason behind the arrest
Sheikh Rasheed was arrested after a citizen filed a complaint against him at Aabpara police station for an interview on January 27 in which he accused former President Asif Zardari of hatching a ‘assassination plot’ against Imran Khan. The petitioner, Raja Inayat, is said to be a local officeholder of the People’s Party.
The PTI Chief has himself made this allegation as well, and the PPP has already announced a defamation suit against him.
He has been booked under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between groups) and 505 (inciting public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
‘Liquor and weapons recovered’
Police have claimed that Sheikh Rasheed was intoxicated at the time of arrest and that weapons were also recovered from his possession.
However, the politician’s nephew Rashid Shafiq has claimed that the police had taken two licensed guns and two bulletproof vehicles with them. He also said that ‘planting liquor’ was not a hard job for the police to do.
Where was Sheikh Rasheed after the arrest
Sheikh Rasheed was taken to Aabpara police station where he posted a photo of himself smoking a cigar.
Speaking to journalists at the police station, he said that the police had scaled his house’s walls to enter. He claimed that his employees had been manhandled and his house ‘looted’. He also said that Rana Sanaullah was behind the arrest.
“I’ve never drank in my life,” he added.
Sheikh Rasheed was taken to Polyclinic Hospital for a medical checkup, where doctors checked his sugar levels, blood pressure and heart rate. His health was declared satisfactory, after which he was shifted back to the police station.
He will be presented in Judge Umar Shabbir’s court later today (Thursday).
Journalist Imran Riaz Khan arrested from Lahore.
Meanwhile, journalist Imran Riaz Khan was arrested by the FIA at Lahore Airport early on Thursday morning.
His team announced the arrest on Twitter, adding that he had been moved to an unidentified place.
In a series of tweets posted in the early hours of Thursday, the journalist revealed that he had been ‘blacklisted’ to prevent him from leaving the country. He apparently learnt this when he reached the airport to leave for UAE to attend to some family business. He also said that he had told the FIA he was ready to be arrested if needed.
In the last tweet that he posted himself, he claimed he would be arrested.
The journalist, apart from hosting a talk show on a mainstream channel, is also a YouTube vlogger with a large following. He was also arrested last July from a toll plaza near Islamabad. he was released on bail after three days in custody.
FIA sources said that Imran Riaz has been handed over to the agency’s cybercrime wing and that he is being questioned in a case regarding ‘hate speech’.
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