Almost 15 days after he was arrested from his residence in Rawalpindi, the whereabouts of Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid remain unknown.
According to the politician’s lawyer, Rashid was in the custody of the Rawalpindi police. However, the latter has denied these claims.
The Lahore High Court’s (LHC) Rawalpindi bench has ordered the police to locate the PTI ally’s whereabouts, directing the law enforcement agency to make all-out efforts for his recovery. Further proceedings are set to resume tomorrow (Monday).
Dawn.com traces developments pertaining to Rashid’s arrests and re-arrests throughout the year.
Jan 30: LHC directs ETPB to de-seal Lal Haveli residence
Later the same day, the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench directed the board to immediately de-seal the residence after the judge reprimanded an ETPB administrator for not presenting a clear stance.
Jan 31: Rashid given last chance to appear before police
The capital police issued a final warning to the former interior minister to appear before the police in connection with a complaint over his alleged objectionable remarks against former president Asif Ali Zardari.
The complaint was filed after the AML chief alleged that Zardari recruited terrorists to murder PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
Feb 2: Rashid arrested; Islamabad police granted 2-day physical remand
Feb 6: IHC stays registration of multiple FIRs against Rashid
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a stay order against the registration of first information reports (FIRs) against Rashid across the country.
It also stopped his handover to the Sindh and Balochistan police in the cases registered against him over his alleged objectionable remarks about Zardari.
Feb 8: Murree police granted 1-day transit remand
Feb 16: IHC grants bail
Feb 25: ACE launches fresh probe against Rashid
The Lahore Anti-Corruption Establishment launched a fresh probe against Rashid and Farhat Shahzadi, a close friend of the PTI chairman’s wife, in inquiries pending against them to determine whether they committed money laundering or not.
May 27: Govt cancels Rashid’s diplomatic passport
As a part of the state’s crackdown on the PTI and its leaders in the aftermath of May 9 violence — when protests broke out across the country against former premier Imran Khan’s first arrest — the government cancelled the diplomatic passports of the former interior minister, as well as nine high-profile PTI leaders.
The list excluded those former members of the PTI chief’s cabinet who had said their goodbyes to the party, though it was not immediately clear whether they also held diplomatic passports or not.
May 28: Rashid vows unwavering support for Imran
The former interior minister alleged that raids were being conducted at the houses of his sisters, brothers and passed-away mother.
May 30: Rashid responds to NAB notice in Al-Qadir Trust case
May 31: Police allegedly raids Rashid’s home
The PTI ally alleged that some 80-90 people, including Rangers, Islamabad police, and others “dressed in civil clothes” raided his home forcefully during the early hours of the day, as well as tortured his houseworkers.
June 4: Rashid laments further police raids
Once again, the AML chief claimed that Islamabad police’s Elite Force personnel beat his staff during a raid at his house at 12am and forcibly extracted statements that they were not tortured during the previous May 31 raid.
He also alleged that in a second incident, a “force clad in plain clothes” tortured his employees at his Lal Haveli residence in Rawalpindi at 4am.
Sept 17: Rashid arrested: lawyer, nephew
Sardar Abdul Raziq, the AML chief’s lawyer told Dawn.com that the politician was arrested from his residence in Rawalpindi by “men clad in plain clothes”.
He claimed that Rashid’s nephew Sheikh Shakir and houseworker Sheikh Imran had also been arrested. Raziq further said the former interior minister had been moved to an “undisclosed location”.
Separately, in a video message, the AML leader’s nephew Sheikh Raashid Shafique said his uncle, along with Shakir and Imran, was arrested by the Punjab police from Bahria Town Phase III in Rawalpindi and their current whereabouts were unknown.
“Both the Islamabad and Punjab police have told the high courts in writing that Sheikh Rashid is not proclaimed in any case,” he said.
Condemning the May 9 violence, Shafique requested the higher courts to take notice of the arrest and find out where his uncle was taken. “We will fight the legal battle and have always indulged in politics of principles,” he added.
According to Raziq, Rashid was initially not nominated in the FIR registered with the Kohsar police in Islamabad in connection with a midnight protest on May 9 against Imran’s arrest but his name was later included in the FIR.
However, senior police officials in Islamabad denied detaining the AML chief.
Sept 18: LHC moved for Rashid’s production order
Sheikh Amir Shafique, another nephew of Rashid, approached the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench seeking directives to the police to produce his uncle, a brother and two servants — adding Sajid’s name to the list of detainees — in the court.
Former MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafique also said the AML chief had not been produced in any court even after more than 24 hours nor his relatives were informed about his whereabouts.
Sept 21: Authorities seal Lal Haveli residence
The row over the property’s ownership resurfaced when authorities once again sealed the Lal Haveli residence. An ETPB official stated that the building’s registry had been cancelled after proceedings but clarified that it was not fake.
Sept 22: Rawalpindi police denies arresting AML chief
The LHC’s Rawalpindi bench took up the plea against Rashid’s arrest and summoned Rawalpindi Regional Police Officer (RPO) Syed Khurram Ali on September 26.
During the hearing, Additional Attorney General (AAG) 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.
Sept 26: Rashid not in police custody, court told
While the AML chief’s counsel Raziq argued before the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench that his client was arrested by the city’s police, the police denied having the politician in their custody.
Subsequently, the court directed the police to locate Rashid’s whereabouts and asked the law enforcement agency to make an all-out effort for his recovery. Further proceedings were later adjourned till October 2.
Sept 29: Whereabouts of Rashid still not known: nephew
In a video statement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Shafique reiterated that he still did not know where his uncle, brother and the houseworker were.
He also claimed that he had “repeatedly requested” Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and LHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq to take notice of the matter.
Oct 2: LHC gives police one week to recover Rashid
The LHC’s Rawalpindi bench ordered RPO Ali to recover Rashid within a week and present him before the court, warning of filing a case against six officers if the police failed to do so.
Meanwhile, the police informed the court that “Sheikh Rashid’s nephew and worker have come back”, without specifying in whose custody they were.
Oct 10: Rawalpindi CPO, others to face cases
Observing that the police had made no progress in the case so far, the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench ordered the registration of a case against the city’s top police officers over their failure to trace the AML chief’s whereabouts.
It also gave the RPO yet another week as a final opportunity for the recovery of the missing politician.
Oct 19: LHC gives police another week
RPO Ali once again informed the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench that Rashid was “not in police custody”, asserting that CPO Hamdani, Senior Superintendent of Police Faisal Saleem and “police officials were not involved in his arrest”.
At his request, the court gave the police another week, ordering it to recover the former interior minister till the next hearing on October 26.