Court dismisses Sheikh Rashid’s second bail plea

ISLAMABAD (Agencies): A local court in Islamabad has turned down a second post-arrest bail petition filed by Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid after he challenged a judicial magistrate’s dismissal of his previous petition for bail.
Additional Sessions Judge Tahir Abbas Sipra announced the verdict reserved earlier and rejected the plea for post-arrest bail. It may be mentioned that Sheikh Rashid, 72, was detained last week from his residence on a complaint filed by the PPP Rawalpindi Division vice-president. He is being tried under several sections related to criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity between different groups, and statements conducing to public mischief.
During the hearing, Rashid’s lawyer Raziq read out the first information report filed in the case. “Prior to the FIR, a notice was sent by the police, about which we found out through the media but the IHC suspended that notice, yet an FIR was registered,” he argued. He added that the person who filed the case had asked for an investigation to be conducted about the conspiracy Rashid mentioned.
The lawyer asserted, “The sections registered in the FIR could only be filed by the federal government or a provincial government, not by any citizen.” He argued that no such statement was made about “any religious group, ethnic group, or a community” upon which those sections could be applied.
Rashid’s counsel said that his client had only mentioned what PTI Chairman Imran Khan had talked about to him. “Imran Khan [also] made the statement [but] no action was taken against him.” He requested the court to accept the bail plea saying that only a defamation case could be filed by Zardari.
Rashid’s other lawyer, Panjhota said, “Sheikh Rashid did not target any group. Benazir Bhutto Shaheed had also given a similar statement after which she was attacked.” Prosecutor Adnan then began presenting his arguments. He asserted the IHC had suspended the notice but it had not stopped the police from filing a case. The prosecutor emphasized that both, Zardari and Imran were the heads of their respective parties and making a statement that “Asif Ali Zardari wants to get Imran Khan killed is no small matter”. He described Rashid’s statement as “extremely inciting”, adding that he had “committed no usual crime and its punishment is up to seven years”.
Rashid’s counsel said, “’Imran Khan tweeted there are two people whom Asif Ali Zardari has contacted for getting Imran Khan killed.” He asserted that only a defamation case could be registered against Rashid. Judge Supra then asked the investigation officer (IO) if the police had included in the investigation the person who Rashid held a meeting with and if Imran had been included as well.