Sheikh Rashid challenges govt's move of 'sealing' Lal Haveli

Shabbir Dar

  • LHC admits petition filed on behalf of Sheikh Rashid. 
  • Rashid he didn't get any notice from Evacuee Trust Property Board.
  • DC says Rashid, his brother illegally occupied 7 units of haveli.

RAWALPINDI: Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid on Monday approached the Lahore High Court's (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench against the complete “sealing" of his Lal Haveli residence.

Earlier today, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) sealed seven units including two units of Lal Haveli and five adjoining units.

Advocate Sardar Raziq Khan, on behalf of the AML chief, while submitting the plea urged the court to hold an urgent hearing which was accepted. The hearing will take place at 11am today.

Meanwhile, AML's workers have reached the residential property and are chanting slogans against the ETPB officials. The former interior minister will reach the haveli shortly.

The famous Lal Haveli, an old building at Bohar Bazaar, is the political office of the AML leader — who insisted he did not get any notice from the ETPB.

"I was not present at the Haveli, I was in Islamabad," said the former federal minister while speaking to Geo News

"They [the government] wanted to arrest me at night. They have now resorted to hooliganism."

"Hang us publicly and disqualify us, if it is proved that we don't own this property," the former minister challenged the authorities concerned and added, this was his property. 

ETPB Deputy Commissioner Asif Khan reached the property last night with a heavy contingent of police and sealed two units of the famous Lal Haveli in Rawalpindi. The Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) team was also present at the spot. 

The ETPB wrote to the deputy commissioner, the city police officer (CPO) and FIA's director for their support. 

The superintendent of police (SP), FIA's director and the assistant commissioner were also a part of the operation.  

Padlock put up on one of the doors of Lal Haveli by the authorities. — Reporter
Padlock put up on one of the doors of Lal Haveli by the authorities. — Reporter

According to the deputy commissioner, Rashid and his brother Sheikh Siddique illegally occupied the seven land units of the haveli.

DC Khan said they sent several notices to the AML chief and his brother before sealing the property.

"Sheikh Rashid and his brother failed to provide any authentic document or record," he said. The court had also dismissed Rashid's injunction request, Rashid continued.

The ETPB sealed a total of seven units including two units of Lal Haveli and five adjoining units. 

PTI condemns 'illegal terrorism'

Condemning the “illegal terrorism”, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Secretary General Asad Umar assured Rashid of full support.

“In order to pressurise Rashid, the government hatched a plan to attack Lal Haveli and vandalise Rashid’s residence by using state’s machinery,” he wrote on Twitter.

'DC following Rana Sanaullah's order'

Rashid, while speaking to media persons shortly after submitting his petition, said that Lal Haveli is a part of the "history" which was against [former military leaders] Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan and is also against the current government.

He said that the haveli's security was withdrawn earlier, adding that "the [government] first gathered all the forces and then planned to arrest me".

"DC Khan is following the instructions of [Interior Minister] Rana Sanaullah," the AML chief claimed, warning the authorities concerned that he can stage a sit-in outside Lal Haveli and can shut down the entire city if he wants. 

He further shared that 20 other people including him are living in the haveli, adding that it is wrong to say that the entire haveli belongs to him.

The former minister said that the government basically has issues with him standing beside PTI chief Imran Khan.

It should be noted that Lal Haveli — which is constructed on over six marla units — has been in Rashid’s possession.

Today the ETPB officials sealed four shops on haveli's ground floor. Rashid had built an office in two of the shops while the other two were in someone else's possession.

The residential part inside the Lal Haveli hasn't been sealed. Moreover, the property attached to the haveli that belonged to Rashid's brother has also been sealed. It was constructed on three marla units.

On October 18 last year, a district and sessions court in Rawalpindi issued a stay order to the ETPB, directing it to temporarily stop the eviction of the structure after Rashid challenged a notice asking him to vacate his residence. 

The board also issued directives to the AML chief and his brother to vacate the residence within seven days. However, the former minister challenged the notice in court.