Court rejects Sheikh Rashid’s post-arrest bail

ISLAMABAD (Agencies): A court in Islamabad has turned down Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s post-arrest bail plea in the case registered against him for levelling allegations against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari.
The court had reserved its verdict in the case earlier today after hearing arguments of the prosecution and Rashid’s lawyers and later announced it by rejecting Sheikh’s plea. At the outset of the hearing, the court asked Rashid’s lawyer whether their stance was that their client was not part of the conspiracy claimed to kill Imran Khan. Sardar Abdul Razzik, Rashid’s counsel, told the court that his client had referred to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan’s statement and was not part of the conspiracy.
The lawyer also contended that the first information report (FIR) of the case was registered two days before Rashid gave the statement. “Even if a murder is committed right in front of the police, the case is not registered this quickly,” said the lawyer. He added that the law enforcement agency carried out the inquiry and registered the case. The lawyer said that tThe police should have investigated Asif Ali Zardari but the opposite happened. He added that the PTI chair’s statement was based on facts. “There is a conspiracy to kill Imran Khan for which a case is not being registered. However, a case has been registered for the defamation of Asif Zardari,” said the lawyer.
The counsel also contended that a notice was issued against his client on January 31 but it was never sent to him but was aired on television channels. He added that when the notice was suspended by the high court the next day a case was registered against Rashid. Razzik also told the court that the case was registered on a private complainant’s request not a state officer. “A common citizen, who is a PPP worker, had made allegations against Sheikh Rashid,” said Razzik. He added that the case would have been different had PPP Co-chairperson Asif Zardari filed the complaint. The counsel said that Zardari could have sent defamation notice to Imran Khan for making the allegations. He added that his client had only stated that whatever Imran Khan says is the truth.
The lawyer also contended that during his client’s physical remand the police were not able to find anything. “Case against Sheikh Rashid was only registered to take political revenge,” Razzik told the court. He also claimed that during the search carried out by the police at his client’s home, they took Rs700,000 and valuable items. The lawyer claimed that two bulletproof cars at his client’s home were also impounded.
“There is no need to investigate Sheikh Rashid. The bail plea should be approved. [The] high court in its verdict had also prohibited further action,” said Razik as he wrapped up his argument. Intizar Panjotha, Rashid’s other counsel, told the court that there was no political campaign or untoward incident over his client’s statement.
While urging the court to accept the bail plea, Panjotha also told the court that the sections added in the FIR against Rashid can only be included if a state officer is the complainant. Once Rashid’s counsel wrapped up their arguments, the judge told the lawyers that their client gave a statement against Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah in a hospital and asked whether there was a chance of anarchy spreading in the country due to the statement. At this, Rashid’s counsel told the court that the Islamabad High Court had suspended the application related to this, adding that the statement came during detention which is why it holds no importance.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor contended that Rashid was committing an offence repeatedly with his statements during detention. The lawyer contended that Rashid wanted collision between the PTI and PPP. He added that there was chance of anarchy spreading in the country with Rashid’s statement. The prosecution also told the court that the high court in its order had only stopped the summoning of Rashid. He added that the former interior minister’s attitude during detention was also unusual.