Monday Feb 22, 2021
KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed concern over the health of the ruling PTI's leader in Sindh, Haleem Adil Sheikh, a spokesperson for the Governor House said in a statement issued Monday.
According to the spokesperson, PM Imran Khan had a telephonic conversation with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, wherein he expressed concern over Haleem Adil Sheikh's health. The PTI leader was last night moved to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) after he complained of chest pain.
Ismail apprised the premier of the ongoing situation, as well as the details of the alleged torture on Sheikh in police custody. "The prime minister of Pakistan has given the assurance of [required] action" in this regard, the spokesperson added.
The inspector-general of police (IGP) for Sindh, Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar, "is involved in political activities" and the provincial cops were "showing impartiality", the governor claimed.
The Central Jail superintendent has denied that Sheikh was assaulted in the prison.
Ismail also addressed a press conference Monday evening, calling for Sindh IG Mushtaq Mahar's removal and claiming that lawlessness was "rampant" in the province.
"Sindh IG seems to have failed. He has no interest in protecting the dignity of the police," the governor stated. "Retaliatory actions are being taken against the PTI's workers after the by-elections in Sindh.
"Haleem Adil Sheikh was charged with terrorism. He was tortured in the Central Jail [Karachi]," he added, noting that the Opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly has "a privilege", or certain exemptions.
He further noted that a PTI worker, Sameer Sheikh, was also arrested but was to be taken to the hospital according to a court order. "The prison administration is not obeying the court order," he added.
Haleem Adil Sheikh, who was last admitted to the NICVD after complaining of chest pain, has been shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).
Speaking to Geo News, the Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly, alleged that 50 workers of the provincial ruling party and associated with the Lyari gang war "were hired by the PPP to kill me".
"Is there only one room in the jail? Video from the room where I was being hit for 18 seconds should be shown," Sheikh said. "50 people of the [Lyari] gang war were hired by the PPP to kill me.
"I was placed in the ward of Daesh terrorist Saad Aziz. I was not given any second-class prison facilities," the PTI leader claimed, adding that he had told the prison administration that his life was in danger.
"A police officer named Ehsan Mehar saved my life," he added.
Separately, Information and Broadcasting Minister Senator Shibli Faraz alleged that the Sindh government was "punishing" Sheikh for pointing out its incompetence and "targeting" him for "political revenge".
"The PPP has recruited the police on political grounds," Faraz claimed, demanding that the Sindh government immediately release the PTI leader.
"Democracy has always been harmed by the politics of money," he said, adding that the ruling PTI had always taken practical steps to eradicate corruption in the Senate elections.
"There is no moral or legal justification for the violence against Haleem Adil Sheikh. The politics of violence is the PML-N's motto," Faraz added.
Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Haider Zaidi also issued a statement regarding the alleged torture on Haleem Adil Sheikh, saying he talked to the PTI leader as well.
"Haleem Adil Sheikh has been admitted to hospital. He was attacked in the jail by 50 thugs of the PPP," he added, vowing to take up the matter with PM Imran Khan.
"It is time to take action against Sindh IG, home secretary, and chief secretary," Zaidi stressed.
Responding to Sheikh's claims, Sindh chief minister's adviser on prisons, Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, said the PTI leader was "leveling allegations once again".
Jakhrani, while speaking to Geo News on phone, explained that as Haleem Adil Sheikh was being taken inside the jail, some inmates chanted slogans.
"The prison administration sensed the situation and brought him back under security," he said, adding that the PTI leader was kept in a special cell of Karachi's Central Jail.
"As can be seen in the video, the situation returned to normal in 20 seconds," the aide added.
Earlier in the day, the Central Jail administration also released CCTV footage from the prison in response to the allegations of torture on Sheikh.
The photos, captured from the CCTV footage, show that the PTI leader was admitted to the jail ward under security. It was also seen in the video that as Haleem Adil Sheikh was being brought into to the Central Jail, some incarcerated party workers started chanting slogans after seeing him near the waiting room.
"The suspect was brought back to the jail over the fear of any harm" being done to him, the Central Jail's senior superintendent said.
In addition, PPP MPA and Sindh Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah also shot back at the statements by the ruling party's leaders, saying the PTI was "a group of politically immature people whether it be on the federal level or provincial".
"The PTI is working to spread chaos following its failure in the by-elections and from all sides," Shah said, adding that the ruling party did not want to improve politics and the society but "just want(s) to spread violence and chaos".
"First, there was a barrage of allegations against Sindh Police officers and now [they have leveled] allegations against the jail administration. We will not allow the PTI party to succeed in their nefarious intentions at each step they take."