ISLAMABAD: A court in Islamabad has sent Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid — a close aide of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PIT) Chairman Imran Khan — on a 14-day judicial remand.
The former interior minister is facing serious charges as he levelled allegations against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari for plotting to assassinate Khan.
PPP Rawalpindi Division President Raja Inayat Ur Rehman had filed a case against Rashid at Islamabad's Aabpara Police Station. Three sections — 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) — are included in the FIR.
The Islamabad Police presented the AML chief in the court of Judicial Magistrate Umar Shabbir amid strict security, upon the completion of his two-day physical remand.
The ex-interior minister is also facing charges in Muree, Karachi and Lasbela. A case has been lodged against him in Muree for threatening police personnel, while he has been named in two separate FIRs for passing "offensive" and "filthy" comments against Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
Meanwhile, the district and sessions court will hear the former interior minister's plea for bail on Monday (February 6).
The Islamabad Police presented the AML chief in the court of Judicial Magistrate Umar Shabbir amid strict security, upon the completion of his two-day physical remand in the murder plot allegations against the former president.
At the outset of the hearing, the police sought a five-day extension in Rashid's physical remand.
The investigation officer informed the court that voice-matching tests had been done and the photogrammetry test was left.
Meanwhile, Rashid maintained: "It'd be better I be sentenced to death the way police have kept [me]".
He complained that the police kept him blindfolded and tied to a chair for hours.
The politician pleaded to the court to order the authorities to take him to a hospital to bandage his injuries and grant him Rangers' security.
At this, the court ordered to uncuff Rashid.
Meanwhile, Rashid's lawyer started his arguments, saying that the sections imposed in the case against his client weren't valid.
He argued that Rashid was sent into police custody for two days for investigation but was "tortured at night".
Later, the court reserved its verdict on the police's plea for an extension in Rashid's physical remand. It also gave the transcript of Rashid's interview to his lawyer.
After the Karachi police filed a second case against Rashid, the ex-interior minister filed a plea in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) through his lawyer Sardar Abdul Razzaq Khan. Rashid sought restraining orders against his transfer from the federal capital to Karachi.
"The respondents be restrained from shifting the petitioner from Islamabad to Karachi till the final disposal of the instant constitutional petition," the plea stated.
The petitioner also requested the court to quash the case registered at Aabpara Police Station in Islamabad after declaring it as "illegal, unlawful and without lawful authority", and restrict the respondents from lodging more cases against him.
Moreover, the FIRs registered at Murree and Karachi should "be declared as illegal, unlawful, result of abuse of powers and misuse of authority or in the alternate".
The petition also requested the court that the case registered in Karachi "be ordered to be shifted to Islamabad in accordance with section 234, 235 and 239 of Cr.P.C where the case was already registered".
PTI leader Faisal Javed Khan while speaking to the media in Islamabad said that Rashid is being targeted for raising the voice of truth.
"Filing cases on us will not improve the economy," he said, adding that they are ready to express solidarity with Rashid.
Javed went on to say that the government offers talks but on the other hand cases are being filed against the PTI leaders and its allies.
He said that his party has already proposed the solution to come out of this quagmire, which is to "announce the date for elections".
"Unemployment and inflation are breaking records today. The only solution is elections," the PTI leader said.
Moreover, Javed said that the freedom of the press is being restricted with every passing day and the rights of journalists are violated.
The one who tells the truth and exposes the government's incompetence is threatened, he added.
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. He 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].
In another case in Karachi for using "filthy" language against Bilawal, an FIR under four sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (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) — were registered against him.
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 FIR in Lasbela for using "filthy" language against Bilawal. The FIR includes five sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (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).