The Lahore High Court’s (LHC) Rawalpindi bench on Monday gave the city police a week to recover Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid, whose lawyer has claimed that he had been arrested.
The PTI ally was reportedly detained from his residence by “plain clothes men”, his lawyer Sardar Abdul Raziq Khan had said on September 17. Rashid’s nephew Sheikh Shakir and houseworker Sheikh Imran had also been arrested and taken to an “undisclosed location”, according to the lawyer.
Days later, police submitted City Police Officer (CPO) Khalid Hamdani’s report to the court, which stated that Rashid was neither in their custody nor was he arrested by the Rawalpindi police.
On September 26, while Raziq argued before the court that his client was arrested by the Rawalpindi police, the latter denied having the politician in their custody.
The court had then directed the police to locate Rashid’s whereabouts and asked the law enforcement agency to make an all-out effort for his recovery.
Today, Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan of the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench resumed the proceedings over the plea against the former interior minister’s arrest.
Raziq and Sardar Shehbaz Raza appeared as Rashid’s counsels while Rawalpindi Regional Police Officer (RPO) Syed Khurram Ali was present as the police’s representative.
While the police stated that “Sheikh Rashid’s nephew and worker have come back”, the court ordered the RPO to recover the AML chief within a week and present him before the court.
At the outset of the hearing, the police informed the court, “Sheikh Rashid’s nephew and worker have come back.” It did not specify in whose custody they were.
The court then dismissed the RPO’s report, saying, “The RPO has crossed limits.”
It warned the police that a case would be filed against the senior superintendent of police (operations), the deputy superintendent of police and four station house officers who were allegedly involved in Rashid’s arrest.
At this point during the hearing, the ex-interior minister’s lawyer said: “After arresting him from [his] home, Sheikh Rashid was taken to the Golra Sharif intelligence office. There are videos present of transferring him to the Golra intelligence office.”
To this, Justice Khan said: “This warning of [recovering him in] a week is the last. If Sheikh Rashid is not found, I will get cases registered against all officers.”
Directing the lawyer and the petitioner to submit affidavits about the AML chief’s arrest, the court ordered the police to recover him in a week and present him before the court.
Hearing on plea against sealing of Lal Haveli
Separately, Justice Mirza Waqas Rauf of the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench took up a plea against Rashid’s Lal Haveli residence being sealed last month.
During the hearing, Raziq argued that the residence was sealed without any prior notice. He noted that there was already a court order present regarding one unit of Lal Haveli.
The additional attorney general (AAG) informed the court that the property had been sealed on the orders of the Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman.
He further said he had the ETPB’s responses “ready” and would submit them by next week.
Subsequently, the court ordered the AAG to submit all responses before the next hearing, which will be held on October 11.