- Former interior minister was earlier arrested from his residence
A local court in Islamabad on Thursday sent former interior minister and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid on two-day physical remand, reported Aaj News.
The prosecutor had requested an 8-day physical remand but Judicial Magistrate Omar Shabbir rejected the petition. While announcing the reserved verdict, he sent Rashid on two-day physical remand instead.
Rashid was presented before the court several hours after being arrested on Thursday morning and taken to the Aabpara Police Station in Islamabad.
The development came after the Islamabad Capital police issued a final warning to the former interior minister to appear before it over a complaint lodged against him.
Early reports indicated that the former minister, a close aide of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, was taken into custody from his residence. Some reports suggested that he was arrested from the Murree Motorway.
Meanwhile, an image posted on Sheikh Rashid’s Twitter account confirmed the former minister was at the Aabpara Police Station.
In a video message shared by PTI on Twitter, the former minister said police ransacked his house and beat up domestic staff while attempting to arrest him.
He alleged that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was behind the incident, saying “justice will prevail and we are with Imran Khan”.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan strongly condemned the arrest.
“Never in our history have we had such a biased, vindictive caretaker govt appointed by totally discredited Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP),” he wrote on Twitter.
In a video message on Wednesday evening before the arrest, Sheikh Rashid had stated that the court had already instructed that this police notice “be withdrawn”.
Later that same day, the Islamabad Capital Police tweeted that the “Supreme Court has ordered the senior law officer to appear, and that the matter is under hearing in the court, so no opinion can be given”.
“The order of the court is clear so avoid arbitrary interpretation. The concerned persons are requested not to distort the facts,” it said.
The police complaint was lodged with senior superintendent of police (operation) Islamabad and then forwarded to Aabpara police station for further action, it was reported earlier.
In response, the former minister was called by Aabpara police on Monday and Tuesday. However, both times, he did not appear before the police, they said, adding that now the police has asked Sheikh Rashid to appear before them on Wednesday.
“Sheikh Rashid Ahmed is not cooperating with the police inquiry,” the ICT Police wrote on its Twitter account on Tuesday (January 31).
Media reports stated earlier that the police acted after Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Rawalpindi Division Vice President Raja Inayat-ur-Rehman filed a case against the former federal minister in Islamabad’s Aabpara police station.
The case was over hurling allegations at former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari for hatching a plot to assassinate PTI chief Imran Khan.
The case was filed with SSP Operation Islamabad, and stated that Sheikh Rashid, in an interview on a news channel that aired on January 27, alleged that Zardari got assistance of some terrorist to kill Imran Khan while talking about a conspiracy.
The complaint added that the statement was made as part of a conspiracy to defame Zardari and create a permanent threat for his family.
However, Sheikh Rashid said that he had said on different TV channels that the government wished to “minus” Imran.
“I was interviewed on various TV channels where I said they (the federal government) wanted to disqualify Imran, minus Imran.
“Imran stated that Asif Zardari wanted to take his life. Zardari is not ready to contest elections with Imran.”
Sheikh Rashid is the second aide of PTI chief Imran to be arrested in a matter of days.
Earlier, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry was also arrested in a predawn raid on his home in Lahore.