KARACHI / ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has been booked on charges of provocation to cause riots and criminal intimidation for passing ‘extremely filthy’ remarks against PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, while the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ruled the ex-minister’s arrest was not contempt of court, since Aabpara police had not been restrained from booking or taking him into custody.
According to the FIR, registered by Karachi’s Moachko police, PPP’s senior vice president at PS-112 and Soomar Goth resident Khuda Bux alleged that Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed hatched a conspiracy to create a law and order situation and trigger violence and bloodshed by using ‘extremely filthy and immoral language’ against Mr Bhutto-Zardari during his interaction with the media at the Polyclinic Hospital in the capital.
He said he saw a video on social media in which the former minister made such utterance that “provoked thousands of workers of the PPP and a large number of people came on road” who were controlled by him and other local party leaders, including Pir Bux and Mohammed Bux, with difficulty.
A police officer requesting anonymity disclosed a Moachko police team reached Islamabad on Friday, but did not specify whether they would arrest the former interior minister and bring him to Karachi.
Karachi police register case over his ‘filthy remarks’ against Bilawal; IHC rules ex-minister’s arrest is not contempt of court
The case was registered under Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 500 (defamation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Earlier, while taking up a petition filed by Mr Ahmed’s nephew seeking contempt of court proceeding against Aabpara SHO for arresting the AML chief, the Islamabad High Court ruled that Mr Ahmed’s arrest was not a contempt of court.
As the high court on Feb 1 suspended a notice issued to Mr Ahmed by the Aabpara police in connection with his statement related to a conspiracy allegedly hatched by former president Asif Ali Zardari to murder PTI chief Imran Khan, counsel for the petitioner argued before Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri that the police flouted the court order by taking the ex-minister into custody.
Justice Jahangiri perused the order that states: “Operation of the impugned notice is suspended till the next date of hearing. However, restraining order shall cease to exist and expire automatically if not extended specifically on the next date of hearing.”
He noted that the court suspended the notice issued to Mr Ahmed, just because apparently it was served without any legal backing.
The judge made it clear that since the court had not restrained the police from registering an FIR or taking him into custody, the police action was not contemptuous. The court then adjourned further proceeding till Monday.
Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2023
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