KARACHI: Police on Thursday arrested provincial president of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Haleem Adil Sheikh in a May 9 riots case soon after an antiterrorism court (ATC) ordered his release in another case.

An hour-long drama was witnessed before the court of the administrative judge of the ATCs in Clifton, where police tried to apply one after another tactics to secure his custody.

Senior PTI leadership, including 11 former lawmakers, have been booked in around four cases of resorting to arson and violence during their protests against the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan in Islamabad.

Mr Sheikh, like nearly dozen former Sindh Assembly members belonging to the PTI, remained in hiding for three months to avoid their arrest in these cases until recently when he emerged on the scene. He surfaced after obtaining a protective pre-arrest bail from the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in three arson and terrorism cases registered at the Ferozabad, Tipu Sultan and City Courts police stations in Karachi.

On Thursday, the investigating officer produced him before the ATCs administrative judge to seek his remand in an identical case registered at the Ferozabad police station.

He informed the court that Mr Sheikh was taken into custody on Wednesday midnight and his custody was required for interrogation as he had allegedly incited party workers for arson and violence during May 9 protests in Karachi.

However, defence counsel Shujaat Ali Khan and Zahoor Mehsud contended that the IO was misleading the court, as Mr Sheikh was already on protective bail from the PHC in three identical cases registered in Karachi, including one at the Ferozabad police station.

They submitted that the court could not grant police his remand and asked the court to order his release as the police had already kept him in illegal confinement since he was on pre-arrest bail.

After hearing arguments, the judge turned down the IO’s request for police custody and ordered his release.

The judge also told the IO to remove his handcuffs.

However, police took him into custody as soon as he came outside the Clifton judicial complex and drove him to the Clifton police station for the purpose of checking his past criminal record (CRO).

Advocate Khan told Dawn that a police official formally arrested Mr Sheikh at the Clifton police station in connection with a case registered at the Preedy police station and drove him away to some ‘undisclosed’ place.

He said they staged a protest and also met SSP Shiraz Nazeer Kalhoro, but he denied having arrested Mr Sheikh.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2023

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