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ISLAMABAD: A district sessions court, on Thursday, dismissed the post-arrest bail plea of the chief of Pakistan Awami League (AML) Sheikh Rashid in a case of levelling allegations against the former president and co-chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari for plotting to assassinate Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

Additional district and sessions judge Tahir Abbas Sipra while announcing its reserved judgment on the AML chief’s application rejected the post-arrest bail plea.

The judge in his four-page judgement stated that admittedly, offences attributed to the accused do not fall within the prohibitory clause of section 497 CrPC. But there is no universal rule to grant bail in such like offences when there is the apprehension of repetition of the offence.

Already the incidents have been reported regarding irresponsible public talks by the accused and there is the likelihood of the repetition of the offence, the court said.

The court order further says, in view of that, the accused, Rashid is not entitled to a grant of post-arrest bail, and the petition in hand is dismissed.

During the hearing, Rashid’s counsel Sardar Abdul Raziq while arguing before the court read out the content of the first information report (FIR). He told the court that his client is innocent and a false case has been registered against him on the basis of a “concocted story”.

Police issued a notice to his client prior to the registration of the FIR, he said, adding that the notice issued to Rashid under section 160 code of criminal procedure (CrPC) was suspended by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The FIR was registered in violation of a court order, he said.

He said that the complaint said that the conspiracy mentioned by the accused in his statement should be investigated. The defence counsel further said that his client merely referred to the information provided by some other person and no offence is made out, he said, adding that there is no incriminating material available on the record against the petitioner to connect him with the commission of offences.

Raziq said that PTI chief Imran Khan gave the statement but no action was taken against him. Zardari only filed a defamation case against the PTI chairman, he said.

The lawyer said that nothing has been recovered from his client, he said that Rashid is behind the bar since his arrest and is no more required to the police for further investigation. He requested the court to grant bail to his client.

The judge asked where it was written in the transcript of Rashid’s statement that Imran Khan has informed him about the conspiracy of his assassination. Rashid said that he held a meeting with Imran Khan in which he was informed about the assassination plot. At this stage decision will be made as per the police record, the judge said.

The judge asked the investigation officer (IO) that did you include the person in the investigation with whom Rashid held a meeting. The IO replied that Rashid stated that there is no evidence due to which Imran Khan has not been included in the investigation.

Adnan Ali, Deputy District Prosecutor while opposing the bail petition said that the case was registered against the present accused on the allegation that he made a public statement in his TV interview. The accused stated that Asif Ali Zardari has hired some terrorists for the commission of murder of Imran Khan, and he has information regarding the said conspiracy, he said.

He said that a notice under Section 160 CrPC was served to the accused by the local police and directed him to appear before it. The interview telecasted on TV, which has even viewership abroad is nowhere denied by the accused, he said, adding that the transcript available on record is clearly showing that the accused never uttered even a single word Imran Khan shared the details of the conspiracy with him.

The prosecutor said that the claim of the accused in his interview is suggesting on one side that he has direct knowledge of any alleged conspiracy but on the other hand, he refused to share such information with the local police.

He said that both persons mentioned in the FIR, Imran Ahmed Khan and Asif Ali Zardari, are very prominent figures who are heading political parties. The levelling of such heinous allegations will naturally create a deep sense of hatred among their followers for each other, he said.

He said that section 153-A Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) is not limited only to the religious, racial, lingual or regional groups, rather, it also includes the groups of the society on any other grounds.

The political bifurcation falls within the definition of formation of groups on any other grounds as provided in section 153-A PPC and in this way it cannot be said that the offence does not attribute to the present accused, he said, adding that section 505 PPC attracts even upon any rumour with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community or persons to commit any offence against any other class or community. He requested the court to reject the bail plea of the accused.

The court after the arguments of both parties reserved its judgment.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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