LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday set aside the arrest of opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh in a land ‘scam’ case registered in Sindh and granted him protective bail.

“This court is convinced that Mr. Haleem Adil Sheikh, MPA & opposition leader was illegally confined, therefore, declare his confinement as illegal and he is set at liberty,” Justice Ali Baqar Najafi observed in his order issued on a petition challenging the arrest of the PTI leader.

The judge granted Sheikh interim anticipatory pre-arrest/protective bail in nature till July 18 subject to his personal bond before the court so that he may appear before the court of competent jurisdiction for the grant of pre-arrest bail.

A team of Jamshoro (Sindh) Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) with the help of Punjab police arrested Sheikh from a hotel in Lahore the other day.

On the court’s order, the ACE officials also produced Sheikh before the court at around 5pm.

In his written order announced at 9pm, Justice Najafi observed that the FIR against the detainee was registered on July 6 at 7:30am under section 409, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 34 of PPC read with section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 at Police Station ACE, Jamshoro.

He noted that the record produced before the court did not reflect any order or warrants of arrest of Sheikh by the ACE of Sindh. He said according to an ACE official Sheikh was arrested by him at 12pm.

However, the judge said, Sheikh stated before the court that he was picked up from his hotel at about 3am, which fact could also be corroborated by a report of the agency.

The judge observed that the record proved that the FIR was not registered at that time of the arrest of the detainee.

Allowing the petition against the illegal arrest of Sheikh, Justice Najafi observed, “The courts are legally duty bound to defend and preserve the constitutional guarantees and to enforce the same.”

Earlier in the day, the authorities also produced Sheikh before a judicial magistrate of Model Town for his transit remand to take him to Sindh. However, the magistrate deferred his decision on the remand request to wait for the decision of the high court.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2022

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