An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore on Tuesday extended PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid’s judicial remand till November 27 in a case pertaining to incendiary speeches she allegedly delivered on May 9 against state institutions at the city’s Sherpao Bridge and rioting in the wake of party chairman Imran Khan’s arrest.
Imran’s arrest on May 9 in the Al-Qadir Trust case had resulted in widespread violence and saw important military installations come under attack, on the basis of which the state had launched a severe crackdown against his party.
While Imran Khan was released a few days later (he has since been rearrested in the Toshakhana and then the cipher case), scores of PTI workers and almost the entire top-tier leadership were rounded up, with many still facing court proceedings under serious charges.
During today’s hearing presided over by Judge Arshad Javed, Rashid contended that she and other PTI leaders wanted to contest the upcoming elections, which are scheduled for February 8.
“We have to contest the elections,” she said. “Ijaz Chaudhry, Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, Omar Sarfaraz Cheema as well as others have to contest the polls,” she said.
The court then asked if it was necessary to be out of jail to contest the elections. To this, Rashid said it was not necessary but “election campaigning has to be carried out”.
Judge Javed informed Rashid that a challan for one of the cases against her was submitted to the court. “I don’t know how many cases are registered against you,” he said, adding that the court had summoned challans of others nominated in the case at hand.
“Fifteen women, including me, have been in jail for the past six months,” Rashid said. To this, the judge said the court would shortlist the witnesses.
“They have come to arrest me in 13 different cases registered in Mianwali, Kasur, Faisalabad, and other districts,” the PTI leader told the court.
The judge remarked that this was the “work of the administration” and the court’s job was to function according to the law.
Meanwhile, the prosecution team submitted a 280-page challan in the case. It included the names of Rana Tanveer, Riaz Hussain, Zayas Khan and four others. The challan also included the names of 45 witnesses.
The court summoned Rashid and other PTI leaders nominated in the case on Nov 24.
After the hearing concluded, Rashid spoke to the media and said she wanted to contest polls against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and his brother, former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif.
“Take us out if you want to contest the elections,” she said, adding that contesting elections was her constitutional right. She also decried the fact that the challans against her had not been completed in the past six months.
“Mothers have been without their children for the past six months,” she said as she highlighted the plight of jailed PTI women workers.