The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday summoned Rawalpindi Regional Police Officer Syed Khurram Ali on September 26 in a case pertaining to the arrest of Awami Muslim League Chairman and PTI ally Sheikh Rashid.
On September 17, Rashid was arrested from his residence in Rawalpindi, his lawyer Sardar Abdul Razzak Khan had confirmed to Dawn.com.
“Men clad in plain clothes arrested Sheikh Rashid from his residence,” he had said, adding that the former interior minister had been moved to an “undisclosed location”.
Abdul Razzak had said Rashid’s nephew Sheikh Shakir and houseworker Sheikh Imran were also taken into custody.
Today, the Rawalpindi bench of the LHC, headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, took up a plea against Rashid’s arrest. Advocate Sardar Shahbaz Raza was representing Rashid in court.
During the hearing, Additional Attorney General Malik Siddique Awan presented City Police Officer (CPO) Khalid Hamdani’s report to the court which stated that Rashid was neither in their custody nor had he been arrested by the Rawalpindi police.
The report added that the case fell under the Islamabad police’s jurisdiction.
The court found the CPO’s reply unsatisfactory and ordered the Rawalpindi RPO to appear in a personal capacity in the next hearing on September 26.
Meanwhile, another LHC Rawalpindi registry bench headed by Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal issued notices to the Auqaf Department’s chairman and deputy administrator in a case pertaining to the sealing of Rashid’s Lal Haveli residence.
The court also transferred the case file to Justice Jawwad Hassan.
Rashid’s counsel Sardar Shahbaz confirmed to Dawn.com that the court has issued notices to the Auqaf Department officials. He also said that Justice Hassan would continue hearing the case from the next hearing.
Hearing of the Lal Haveli case was adjourned to next week.
On September 21, authorities had sealed Rashid’s residence in Rawalpindi, with an official present at the site telling the media that the building’s registry had been cancelled after proceedings.
“Chairman sahib decided [to take control of the building] after proceedings over the registry [submitted by Rashid],” Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Rawalpindi Deputy Administrator Asif Khan had told reporters, clarifying that the registry was not fake.
In an order, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the ETPB chairman said: “I hereby declare property no. D-156, D-157 and D-158 (units of Lal Haveli) situated in Bohr Bazar, Rawalpindi city, district Rawalpindi, as evacuee trust properties under the Evacuee Trust Properties (Management and Disposal) Act, 1975.”
He had directed the ETPB deputy administrator in Rawalpindi to “take over the management and control” of the property and seal it.
The order was issued on a reference filed by Khan for the declaration of D-156, D-157 and D-158 as evacuee trust properties.
An appeal could be filed against the decision with the relevant federal secretary and high court, Khan said, adding, “The haveli has been completely sealed.”
Rashid’s arrest had come amid the state’s crackdown on the PTI and its supporters following incidents of vandalism on May 9 — when party chairman Imran Khan was first arrested from the premises of the Islamabad High Court.
Earlier this year in June, the AML leader had alleged that the Islamabad police broke into his house and beat up his servants. He had also claimed that in a second incident, a “force clad in plain clothes” tortured his employees at his Lal Haveli residence in Rawalpindi.