Sh Rashid granted bail in police threatening case

RAWALPINDI (Agencies): A court in Murree Saturday granted post-arrest bail to Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in a case related to his interference in state affairs by allegedly threatening police personnel.

Judicial magistrate Murree Muhammad Zeeshan presided over the hearing of the case filed against the former interior minister in the Murree Police Station, while Rashid’s counsel Advocate Sardar Abdur Razzak Khan represented him in the court. The judicial magistrate, who had earlier reserved the verdict, issued the decision, approving the AML chief’s bail against a surety bond of Rs50,000.

It should be noted that a case is registered against Rashid — a close ally of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan — under the provisions of interfering with state affairs after he attempted to tear a policeman’s uniform during his arrest in the wee hours of February 2. The court, on February 9, rejected Murree Police’s plea to grant AML chief’s physical remand and sent him to jail on a 14-day judicial remand. A district and sessions court in Islamabad had also on the same day rejected the post-arrest bail plea of the former minister.

Initially, Rashid, according to the police, was arrested in the case of levelling allegations against Zardari on February 2. 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. The minister 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].

An FIR was also registered against Rashid for using “filthy” language against Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto at the Mochko Police Station in Karachi. The case was filed under four sections of the 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).

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 case filed in Lasbela, Balochistan, Rashid was booked for using “filthy” language against Bilawal. The FIR includes five sections of the 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).