Friday May 24, 2024

Sheikh Rashid moves LHC after govt ‘sealed’ Lal Haveli

LHC admits petition filed on behalf of Sheikh Rashid, it will be heard shortly

By Shabbir Dar
January 30, 2023
Lal Haveli in Rawalpindi. — Photo by author
Lal Haveli in Rawalpindi. — Photo by author

RAWALPINDI: Former interior minister and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Monday moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench after the government "completely sealed" his Lal Haveli residence.

The LHC admitted the petition — submitted by Advocate Sardar Raziq Khan filed a petition on behalf of Rashid — which will be heard shortly.

Earlier today, the AML chief claimed that the government has "completely sealed" his Lal Haveli residence.

Following the development, the AML workers also reached the residential property and were chanting slogans against the ETPB officials. 

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.

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.

Rashid, while speaking to Geo News, revealed that he did not get any notice from the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB). "I was not present at the Haveli, I was in Islamabad," he mentioned.

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

"Hang us publicly and disqualify us if it is proved that we don't own this property," the former minister said, insisting that this is his property.

Evacuee Trust Property Board sealed Sheikh Rashids Lal Haveli residence on January 30, 2023. — Photo by author
Evacuee Trust Property Board sealed Sheikh Rashid's Lal Haveli residence on January 30, 2023. — Photo by author

According to information available with Geo News, ETPB Deputy Commissioner Asif Khan reached the property with a heavy contingent of police and sealed two units of the residence. The Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) team also reached the residence.

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

The deputy commissioner said that Rashid and his brother Sheikh Siddique have illegally occupied the seven land units of the haveli.

DC Khan said that they sent several notices to the AML chief and his brother.

"Sheikh Rashid and his brother failed to provide any authentic document or record proving their ownership of the property," he said, adding that the court has also dismissed Rashid's injunction request.

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

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

On October 18, 2022, 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, on October 16, 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.

‘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.

'ETPB following Rana Sanaullah's instructions'

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 will stage a sit-in outside Lal Haveli and can shut down the entire country.

He further shared that 20 other people 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.