Monday, February 06, 2023
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday stopped the police from taking action against Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in the cases registered against him in Lasbela and Karachi.
The orders were issued by IHC’s Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri who was hearing a petition filed by the former interior minister against the registration of a case in Sindh.
At the outset of today’s hearing, Rashid’s lawyer told the IHC that the court had stopped further action on the summons issued by the Abpara Police Station. He added that police registered a case on the same complaint and arrested his client.
The counsel also informed the court that another first information report (FIR) was registered in Karachi while Sheikh Rashid was in Islamabad Police's custody.
"If Poly Clinic [Islamabad] is the place where the statement was given then how was a case registered in Karachi?” asked Justice Jahangiri.
The court also wondered how multiple FIRs can be registered in different cities on the same incident.
At this, Rashid’s lawyer told the court that a third case was registered against his client in Murree.
“Has the arrest been made in all three cases?” asked the judge. The lawyer told the court that the arrest has been made in only one case.
On this, Justice Jahangiri remarked that as per law, arrest in one case is considered arrest in all cases.
Rashid’s counsel then told the court that the former interior minister was "tied to a chair for six hours" at an unidentified location. He also claimed that during this time, the AML chief was asked "political questions" and “tortured”.
The court then remarked that during Rashid's tenure cases were registered against secretary information and managing director of the PTV.
“The same is happening with you. Think, if the female secretary information was arrested and taken by Budh Bher police station what would have happened?” asked the IHC judge.
The court then stopped the police from taking action in the cases registered against the former federal minister in Karachi and Lasbela. It also issued notices to bar councils, attorney general and advocate general of Islamabad.
The case was then adjourned till February 9.
Meanwhile, a district and sessions court in Islamabad Monday adjourned the hearing of Sheikh Rashid’s post-arrest bail plea till tomorrow.
Once the hearing resumed at 12:30pm, the prosecutor told the court that the investigation officer — who had gone to the high court with the case record — had not returned.
During the proceedings, the petitioner's counsel also sought two days' time for the preparation of the case. After hearing this, Judge Umar Shabbir adjourned the hearing till Tuesday.
The AML chief is currently in Adiala Jail on judicial remand for 14 days.
Initially, Rashid, according to the police, was arrested in the case of levelling allegations against Zardari.
Just a day later, Muree Police also registered a case against him.
The FIR was lodged at the complaint of investigation officer Ashiq Ali, from the Aabpara police station, Islamabad. Rashid threatened the police personnel and stated that he would not spare them, according to the FIR.
The FIR was registered under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Pakistan, charging Rashid with interfering in official affairs and resisting his arrest. The FIR states that the former minister physically pushed and abused the police officers and threatened them with serious consequences at gunpoint.
Besides the former minister, his two employees have also been implicated in the case.
The FIR stated that when the police arrived at Rashid's residence, he came out with his armed servants and resisted police efforts while threatening them. The minister was told that he was booked under three sections of the Pakistan Penal Code — 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), read the FIR.
After that, he started resisting and interfering in the official affairs of the police, while threatening them with serious consequences at gunpoint.
Abusing the policemen, Rashid said he had been a minister several times and that he would not spare them, read the FIR. Hence, he committed an offence under Section 506ii (threatening to cause death or grievous hurt], 353 [Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty] and 186 [Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions].
An FIR has also been registered against Rashid for using "filthy" language against Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto at the Mochko Police Station in Karachi. The case was filed under four sections of the PPC — including 500 (Punishment for defamation), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups).
According to the FIR, the AML chief used "highly offensive and disgusting" words against party chairman Bilawal during a media talk at the Polyclinic Hospital which led to anarchy among thousands of PPP workers.
"A large number of people took to the streets and I, along with other members including Pir Buksh, son of Ali Murad, Muhammad Bux, son of Mola Buksh, and others, tried hard to stop them,” added the FIR.
It also said that the AML chief deliberately conspired to subvert peace, tried to instigate conflict and bloodshed and attempted to spread disorder.
"Legal action should be taken against him (Sheikh Rashid)," it said.
In a similar case filed in Lasbela, Balochistan, Rashid was booked for using "filthy" language against Bilawal. The FIR includes five sections of the PPC, including 500 (punishment for defamation), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions).