The Lahore High Court on Wednesday declared the arrest of Sindh Assembly opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh illegal, granted him protective bail till July 18, and ordered his immediate...
The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday declared the arrest of Sindh Assembly opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh illegal, granted him protective bail till July 18, and ordered his immediate release.
Sheikh, who is a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s central leader, had been arrested on Tuesday night in Lahore and taken to an undisclosed place, according to party leaders and his daughter, Ayesha Haleem.
CCTV footage of Sheokh being arrested by officials in plain clothes also surfaced. The MPA did not put up any resistance and followed the men, as was evident in the video. Later, the opposition leader’s personnel secretary moved the LHC through advocate Amir Saeed Rawn and made Punjab’s inspector general of police, the provincial government and other respondents.
He was presented before the court of Justice Baqir Najafi, where the public prosecutor presented the case record. After examining the case record, the judge inquired if there was any paper to show that it was the investigation team that had come to arrest him. “I do not see any document in the provided papers,” the judge remarked.
Sheikh, while replying to the court’s query, said that he was arrested on Tuesday evening and was taken first to the Gulberg police station and then to the CIA because he was raising his voice in the assembly. He said that he was ready to face any inquiry.
Then the court asked him when he wanted to go to Sindh, to which he replied that he wanted to celebrate the Eidul Azha with his children. After hearing Sheikh, the judge remarked that “it should not be like this, give me the file and I will pronounce the verdict after some time”. Later, the court announced the reserved verdict and granted protective bail to him till July 18.
Meanwhile, a large number of PTI supporters and leaders took part in a protest outside the Karachi Press Club to demand of the authorities to release Sheikh immediately.
Former opposition leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi, parliamentary leader Khurram Sherzaman and other leaders, while addressing the protest’s participants, said the Pakistan Peoples Party leadership was afraid of Sheikh, who had been exposing their corruption and bad governance inside and outside the Sindh Assembly.
They said the PPP-led Sindh government had been “politically victimising” Sheikh in the past by registering fake cases against him. The PTI leaders also condemned the arrest of anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan.
Earlier, PTI central secretary general Asad Umar said on Twitter that Sheikh was arrested by “plain-clothed men in the middle of the night”. “This is not even arrest. It is kidnapping. No rule of law is left in the country. This situation is a test for both bar and bench, media and human rights groups,” he said.
Umar warned the government against allegedly using brutal tactics against people who had spoken the truth and showed them a mirror. Speaking to a protest held by the PTI outside the National Press Club in Islamabad against the arrest of anchorperson Imran Khan Riaz and Sheikh, he called on the government not to take the country to a dangerous turn. He claimed that millions of Pakistani patriots were worried because they did know where the current ruling junta was taking the country.
He said those who were being harassed never spoke against the integrity of Pakistan, as these were the people who spoke in favour of the country. He added that the voices that were being silenced were the voices of Pakistan, saying that whenever patriotic journalists were harassed, or their voices were silenced, the PTI would stand by them. Umar lamented that FIRs were being lodged against patriotic Pakistani journalists. However, he made it clear that the Pakistan nation had risen and people could not be silenced through such tactics.