ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a stay order on Monday against registration of the first information reports (FIRs) against former federal minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed across the country and also stopped his handover to the Sindh and Balochistan police in cases registered against him over his alleged objectionable remarks broadcast from a hospital in the federal capital.
Sheikh Rashid was arrested in Islamabad last week over a statement alleging that former president Asif Ali Zardari had hatched a murder conspiracy against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.
Rashid challenged the case against him at Islamabad’s Aabpara police station and also sought quashing of FIRs against him registered at Karachi’s Mochko police station and Hub, Lasbella district.
His counsel Sardar Abdul Raziq contended that since Sheikh Rashid had been booked over remarks uttered during an interaction with the media at Islamabad’s Federal Government Poly Clinic, the police stations in Karachi and Lasbella had no jurisdiction in the matter.
He further contended that the FIR gave no detail of the alleged “inappropriate, harsh, unethical and objectionable words” and that the cases were registered in violation of a Supreme Court decision in the Sughran Bibi case that barred police from registering more than one FIR of a single occurrence.
Justice Jahangiri pointed out that two FIRs were registered against federal ministers Marriyum Aurangzeb and Javed Latif, acting information secretary Shahera Shahid, acting Managing Director of Pakistan Television Sohail Ali Khan, and Director of News Mirza Rashid Baig at police stations in Lahore and Peshawar.
However, the court suspended these FIRs to the extent of government officials only and sought an opinion from the Attorney General and different bar bodies on the question whether multiple FIRs could be registered in other provinces for an offence in Islamabad.
Justice Jahangiri suspended the FIRs registered against Sheikh Rashid in other provinces and stopped his handover to police.
He also ordered that “no fresh FIR shall be registered against the petitioner [Rashid] in any other part of the country, on the basis of similar nature of allegations levelled in the above-mentioned FIRs, without formal permission of this court till the next date of hearing”.
Further hearing was adjourned to Feb 16.
Judicial magistrate Omar Shabbir rejected a request by Karachi police seeking transit remand of Sheikh Rashid. The judge, however, allowed Murree police to interrogate the politician within Adiala Jail’s premises.
Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2023
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