Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh was charge-sheeted by police on Wednesday for instigating his party activists to resort to "violence, rioting and terrorism" during the Karachi by-elections for the PS-88 constituency of Malir and an anti-encroachment drive against his farmhouse.
Police had detained Sheikh along with five party leaders and booked them among scores of others for instigating violence, rioting, attempt to murder and terrorism during the by-polls on Feb 16 and for obstructing an anti-encroachment drive against his farmhouse in the city's Solangi Goth on Feb 6.
The investigating officer (IO) submitted a report before the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts (ATC), nominating Sheikh, Ramzan, Mehmood, Ghulam Mustafa Hafeez, Abdul Haseeb, Sheikh Sameer and Ghulam Mustafa as accused in the case pertaining to the alleged violence during the by-elections.
The IO placed the names of Shoaib Brohi, Ali Dost, Naseem and Shah Nawaz in column II, meaning the charge-sheet against them would be filed once their whereabouts were determined.
In the charge-sheet submitted through the special public prosecutor Shahid Arain, the IO mentioned that on Feb 16, upon receiving information about fighting at the polling station set up in the 77 TCF School in Ghulam Hussain Jokhio Goth, he saw Sheikh and Sameer along with eight to 10 accomplices come out of a vehicle – carrying blue and red lights.
It further mentioned that around 40-50 men also came out of eight to 10 vehicles, who were wielding batons and axes, and who started fighting with voters coming to the polling station.
In the meanwhile, on the instigation of the suspect, Sheikh, three or four men armed with weapons started firing with an intention to create terror after which people started running out of the polling station. They also pushed and shoved the policemen on duty and tore their official uniforms, it added.
The charge-sheet further mentioned that Sheikh and his accomplices started firing on the policemen on the former's instigation and also smashed the front windscreen of a police mobile van.
It further stated that the opposition leader and his accomplices had obstructed performance of official duties with regard to the electoral process and security duties of the policemen.
The report said Sheikh and his accomplices were arrested on the spot while 40-50 others managed to flee in vehicles. It added that one repeater gun each was recovered from Ramzan, Mehmood and Hafeez, who failed to produce licenses of the weapons, while a baton was recovered from Haseeb.
The IO said the MPA and his accomplices violated the code of conduct of the election commission. Their acts amounted to violating the Sections 147, 148, 149, 170, 171, 186, 114, 324, 353, 427 and 337-H-(ii) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and Section 23-I(A) of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013, according to the IO.
The IO stated that in the light of the statements of the witnesses and recovery of evidence, it was found that Sheikh, others nominated and the absconding suspects had committed the aforementioned offences.
Therefore, the IO requested the administrative judge to accept the charge-sheet against the suspects for initiating trial against them under the relevant sections.
Accepting the the charge-sheet, the judge sent the matter to the ATC-III for disposal of the case in accordance with the law.
The judge also accepted the charge-sheet submitted by the IO in the second case pertaining to resorting to alleged violence, rioting and obstructing the officials of the anti-encroachment department and the police during an operation against a farmhouse belonging to Sheikh in Solangi Goth on Feb 6.
The judge sent the matter to the ATC-III for disposal of the case in accordance with the law.