Monday, October 02, 2023

LHC orders police to produce Sheikh Rashid within a week

LHC says it will issue orders to register a FIR if Sheikh Rashid is not presented in court

Police officials escort AML Chief Shiekh Rashid, as he arrives to attend a hearing at the additional and sessions court in Islamabad on February 2, 2023. — Online
Police officials escort AML Chief Shiekh Rashid, as he arrives to attend a hearing at the additional and sessions court in Islamabad on February 2, 2023. — Online

  • Court also asks Rawalpindi police whereabouts of politician, others.
  • Orders came during hearing of plea challenging Rashid's arrest.
  • Politician was apprehended by "individuals in plain clothes", his lawyer claims.

RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Rawalpindi police, asking them to produce former interior minister and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid in court.

This development occurred during a hearing related to a petition challenging the arrest of the politician, who was apprehended by "individuals in plain clothes" from a housing society in Rawalpindi on September 17.

Rashid's attorney, Sardar Abdul Razzak, claimed that his client was taken into custody at a rented residence within the housing society, and his nephew was also detained.

Following Rashid's arrest, his lawyer said no case was registered against the AML chief in the limits of Punjab. He added that the politician was nominated in a case lodged at Kohsar police station in connection with a protest rally held on May 10 by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the detention of its Chairman Imran Khan.

“We do not know the whereabouts of Rashid so far. Efforts are being made to trace him,” his lawyer had claimed in the wake of his arrest.

Meanwhile, the court inquired Rawalpindi Regional Police Officer (RPO) Syed Khurram Ali regarding the whereabouts of Sheikh Rashid and those arrested with him.

Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan asked whether the police would present the AML chief or write a letter to the court, responding to which the police officer requested the court to grant an additional 15 days of time.

"Fifteen days are a lot. This is not an ordinary matter," the court remarked, noting that even a two-day extension would be too much.

Upon the request of Rashid's lawyer, the court granted an additional seven-day time to the police.

"If Sheikh Rashid is not presented within a week, the court will issue orders for the registration of a first information report (FIR)," said Justice Khan.

The court also inquired regarding the two individuals arrested along with Sheikh Rashid.

"What are the detainees saying after being released?" asked Justice Khan.

"Both the released individuals have remained silent and are refraining from saying anything," Razzak responded.

The politician's lawyer further informed the court about possessing evidence regarding the Rawalpindi police arresting his client, after which the court postponed the hearing of the case for a week.

ETPB seal Lal Haveli

Meanwhile, the AML chief's historic Lal Haveli residence in Rawalpindi was sealed by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) on September 21.

Speaking to the media ETPB deputy administrator Asif Khan said the former interior minister’s residence has been completely sealed as the documents submitted by Rashid were not valid.

The decision to vacate Lal Haveli was issued by the ETPB chairman, said the deputy administrator.

The body conducted the operation to evict the occupants early in the morning in the presence of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and a heavy police contingent.