KARACHI: The administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts on Friday remanded Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh in judicial custody in a case pertaining to violence, firing, attempted murder and terrorism during the PS-88 by-election in Malir.
The investigating officer, Inspector Nazar Mohammad Mangrio, produced Mr Sheikh, a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, and four other suspects — Ramzan, Mehmood, Ghulam Mustafa Hafeez and Abdul Haseeb — before the administrative judge amid tight security on expiry of his two-day physical remand.
However, counsel for Mr Sheikh submitted that since the case did not fall within the ambit of the Anti-Terrorism Act the administrative judge had no jurisdiction to entertain the police’s request for remand.
Special public prosecutor Shahid Mehmood Arain contended that the case fell within the ambit of the ATA as interference and firing in the election process meant terrorism as per the decisions of the superior courts.
He argued that the current dispute was not between two persons since there was no personal enmity, adding that the public at large participated in the election process, therefore, the acts of the suspects fell within the ambit of the ATA.
Haleem Adil Sheikh claims a snake was found and killed in his cell
He pleaded to the court to extend the police remand of the suspects in till March 3.
Turning down the request for police remand, the judge sent them to prison till Feb 25.
Snake found in Sheikh’s cell
In the courtroom, Mr Sheikh alleged that a four-foot-long black cobra was found in his cell in the Special Investigation Unit.
He said that the Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had hatched a conspiracy to kill him in detention, but the personnel killed the snake.
In the meanwhile, the judge also issued notices to the IO and the special public prosecutor on an application moved by the PTI leader seeking grant of post-arrest bail.
Defence counsel Shahid Ali Soomro argued that all the sections inserted in the FIR lodged at the Memon Goth police station were not valid against his client who was merely accused of ‘abetting’ people for violence, attempted murder and terrorism.
He added that in such circumstances only Section 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) could be applicable, but there was no evidence to prove it since there was no eyewitness who had personally seen Mr Sheikh abetting the alleged offence. The counsel pleaded to the court to grant post-arrest bail to his client.
Later, the IO took Mr Sheikh and other suspects to the court of a judicial magistrate (Malir), Nadeem Ali Buriro, to seek extension in their physical remand in a case pertaining to violence, attacking and hurling death threats to the officials of the anti-encroachment department and police during an operation against illegal encroachments in Solangi Goth on Feb 6.
However, the judge told the IO to produce them before the administrative judge of the ATCs since he had jurisdiction to grant their physical remand after the state prosecutor argued that the acts of the suspects fell within the ambit of the ATA.
When the IO brought them back to the court of the ATCs’ administrative judge in Clifton, the time was already over. The IO took them back without obtaining their physical remand.
Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2021