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Court to indict Sheikh Rashid on March 2 in Zardari allegations case

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  • Court orders to ensure Sheikh Rashid’s appearance.
  • Police also submit challan against AML chief. 
  • Court returns Rashid’s plea against Abpara Police Station SHO. 

A district and sessions court in Islamabad on Saturday fixed March 2 to formally charge Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid in a case related to murder plot allegations against former president Asif Zardari. 

The former interior minister, who is a close ally of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, is facing serious charges as he levelled allegations against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman for plotting to assassinate the former premier.

The court has ordered to ensure the former interior minister’s appearance on the said date. 

On Thursday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted bail to Rashid in the same case against surety bonds of Rs50,000 after he filed a bail plea. 

He was in the Adiala Jail on a 14-day judicial remand in the same case.

The police have also submitted a challan against Rashid.

During the hearing, the AML chief requested the court to set March 15 as the date for indictment, saying that he has to participate in a conference.

At this, the judge said that the high court has given its orders and the date cannot be extended. “We will see when the trial starts,” the court remarked.

Case against SHO

The Awami Muslim League (AML) chief also appeared in the court of judicial magistrate Omar Shabbir along with his lawyer on Saturday. He was seeking the registration of a case against the Abpara Police Station SHO for not returning his belongings.

However, the judicial magistrate returned the application for registering a case against the SHO, saying that this is not in his jurisdiction and should be submitted to the session court.

“About 150 to 200 policemen stormed my house,” said Rashid in his plea. The petition said that the police conducted an “illegal raid” on his house at 12:30am on February 2 in Islamabad.

“The SHO said that he has come to teach me a lesson,” stated the petition. It added that the police seized three cell phones during the raid.

The petition further said that the police also seized Rs300,000, six wristwatches and the mobile phones of Rashid’s employees.

Mobile phone passwords

Speaking to the media persons after the hearing, Rashid claimed that he was kept in a death cell like Fawad Chaudhry.

“I was not interrogated about the case and was asked to join a new political party,” he said, adding that “I will hang myself if any corruption case is proven against me”.

“I was asked to share passwords of mobile phones, which I gave to them,” the former interior minister said.

Sheikh Rashid also slammed the PML-N leadership, claiming they were using planes of plunderers and mafia people.

The cases

Initially, Rashid, according to the police, was arrested in the case of levelling allegations against Zardari. Just a day later, Murree Police also registered a case against him.

The FIR was lodged at the complaint of investigation officer Ashiq Ali, from the Aabpara Police Station, Islamabad. Rashid threatened the police personnel and stated that he would not spare them, according to the FIR.

The FIR was registered under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Pakistan, charging Rashid with interfering in official affairs and resisting his arrest. The FIR states that the former minister physically pushed and abused the police officers and threatened them with serious consequences at gunpoint.

Besides the former minister, his two employees have also been implicated in the case.

The FIR stated that when the police arrived at Rashid’s residence, he came out with his armed servants and resisted police efforts while threatening them. He was told that he was booked under three sections of the Pakistan Penal Code — 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), read the FIR.

After that, he started resisting and interfering in the official affairs of the police, while threatening them with serious consequences at gunpoint.

Abusing the policemen, Rashid said he had been a minister several times and that he would not spare them, read the FIR. Hence, he committed an offence under Section 506ii (threatening to cause death or grievous hurt], 353 [Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty] and 186 [Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions].

In another case in Karachi for using “filthy” language against Bilawal, an FIR under four sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) — including 500 (Punishment for defamation), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) — were registered against him.

According to the FIR, the AML chief used “highly offensive and disgusting” words against party chairman Bilawal during a media talk at the Polyclinic Hospital which led to anarchy among thousands of PPP workers.

“A large number of people took to the streets and I, along with other members including Pir Buksh, son of Ali Murad, Muhammad Bux, son of Mola Buksh, and others, tried hard to stop them,” added the FIR.

It also said that the AML chief deliberately conspired to subvert peace, tried to instigate conflict and bloodshed and attempted to spread disorder.

“Legal action should be taken against him (Sheikh Rashid),” it said.

A similar FIR has been filed in Lasbela against the veteran politician for using “filthy” language against Bilawal. The FIR includes five sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), including 500 (punishment for defamation), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions).

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Ex-Punjab CM Usman Buzdar becomes latest PTI leader to quit politics

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  • Buzdar cites current circumstances reason behind quitting politics.
  • Former CM calls on all stakeholders to reach a consensus.
  • He condemns May 9 incidents, says “we should avoid such incidents”.

Former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar Friday became the latest Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader to quit politics in the aftermath of the May 9 violent riots.

“First of all, I condemn the May 9 incidents. The military installations which were targeted were properties of the state of Pakistan and I believe we should avoid such incidents,” Buzdar told journalists during a press conference in Lahore.

Buzdar, whose term as Punjab’s chief minister was cut short in March 2022, said he had always stood with the armed forces of Pakistan and will continue to do so.

“I have always committed to politics of nobility […] but due to the current circumstances, I have decided to quit politics,” the former chief minister, once considered to be close to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, said.

The former chief minister called on all stakeholders to reach a consensus and asked the authorities to release all those who were innocent from jail.

The heat

Khan’s party has been feeling the heat of the state’s might after his party workers burnt and smashed military installations, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, after his arrest on May 9 — a day the army dubbed as “Black Day”.

Several party leaders and thousands of workers have been rounded up in connection with the violent protests and the army has insisted that the people involved in attacks on military installations be tried under the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.

A close aide of Khan, Asad Umar, has relinquished his posts of secretary general and core committee member, citing the ongoing situation.

Several party leaders and lawmakers — including Fawad Chaudhry, Shireen Mazari, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi, Aftab Siddiqui, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan among others — have publicly denounced the attacks on the state installations and announced leaving the former ruling party since the May 9 vandalism.

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Imran Khan’s ‘rights abuses allegations’ ploy to distract from May 9 riots: PM Shehbaz

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  • PM says PTI chief “capable of going to any extreme”.
  • Says he is “not surprised” by Imran Khan’s “antics”.
  • “Everything about Imran Khan is hate, division and lie.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif slammed his predecessor Imran Khan for “misleading and baseless allegations” of “rights abuses”, saying that it was a ploy to distract attention from his involvement in May 9 events.

“Make no mistake about the evil intent behind Imran Niazi’s latest ploy to defame our law enforcement agencies and police. Yet again he is making misleading and baseless allegations of the “rights abuses” just to distract attention for his culpability in the tragic events of May 9,” the premier wrote on his official Twitter handle.

PM Shehbaz, who is also the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), also said that he was “not surprised” by the former prime minister’s “antics”.

Imran Khans rights abuses allegations ploy to distract from May 9 riots: PM Shehbaz

He added that the PTI chief was “capable of going to any extreme” as he “persistently” uses “foul language against the state institutions, incite[s] people to violence and attack[s] the state symbols and military installations & bring[s] down martyrs’ monuments”.

The prime minister went on to write on the tweet: “He [Khan] presides over a disinformation apparatus that deploys fake news methodically to fool the people. Everything about him is hate, division and lie.”

A crackdown has been launched against PTI following the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan from the Islamabad High Court’s premises.

Khan’s arrest last month sparked days of street protests after which the PTI leaders’ exodus started, as security forces launched a crackdown against the party following the attacks on civil and military institutions, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the Lahore Corps Commander’s House (Jinnah House). At least eight people were killed in the violent protests almost across the country.

Amid these arrests, an exchange of accusations began between the Imran Khan-led PTI and the federal government involving alleged “ill-treatment” of the party’s women workers and supporters during the custody.

The government has maintained that the PTI’s claims are unfounded.

Last week, in a late-night press conference, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the PTI planned to highlight human rights violations in Pakistan on a global scale after orchestrating a simulated raid at a certain known party worker, involving a rape and casualties caused by gunfire.

The security czar said that intelligence agencies intercepted an audio clip that sheds light on a conspiracy hatched by the PTI to malign the country’s law-enforcement agencies.

Reacting to his presser, Imran Khan on Sunday said Sanaullah is “so obviously trying to cover up and preempt the horror stories about to break in the media.”

“If there were any doubts about women being mistreated in jails, this press conference from this certified criminal should remove all such doubts,” he wrote on Twitter.

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PTI President Parvez Elahi arrested in Lahore

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  • Former Punjab CM was arrested by anti-corruption personnel.
  • He was wanted in Rs70m corruption case related to uplift funds.
  • Elahi’s son says his father was taken into custody in a fake case.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Parvez Elahi was arrested by anti-corruption officials from Lahore outside his home, Geo News reportedon Thursday. 

The former Punjab chief minister was taken into custody by the anti-corruption personnel after pulling over his car near Zahoor Elahi’s residence in Lahore’s Gulberg area.

Elahi’s spokesperson has confirmed the development.

The development came after an anti-corruption court last week discarded his interim bail over his failure to appear before the court citing health issues.

His arrest was required in the Rs70 million corruption case related to the embezzlement of development funds allocated for the Gujrat district.

The anti-corruption court judge also declared Elahi’s medical certificate bogus which claimed that he had been experiencing chest pain.

The anti-corruption spokesperson in a statement said Elahi was taken into custody while trying to flee and added that he was wanted in various corruption cases.

The spokesperson also said that Elahi was arrested as his bail was discarded by the court for submitting a fake medical certificate.

In a statement to the police, Elahi’s driver said the PTI leader was fleeing to Gilgit Baltistan along with a convoy of four vehicles.

He said Elahi was not travelling in a bulletproof vehicle and added that police tried to break the car’s window after the PTI president refused to open the gate.

Speaking to Geo News, Punjab caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir said Elahi was wanted by the anti-corruption police in a graft case.

He said the PTI president was fleeing from his residence when the police intercepted his vehicle and took him into custody.

The minister added that resistance was put up during the arrest but the police managed to arrest him.

The PTI leader’s spokesperson said Elahi’s son Rasikh and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s sister were also present with him during the arrest.

Elahi’s arrest came as hundreds of PTI leaders and workers have been arrested since May 9 violent protests erupted almost across the country.

The crackdown on PTI leadership in the wake of the May 9 riots triggered a wave of desertion in the former ruling party with many bigwigs including Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry, Aami Mehmood Kiani, Ali Zaidi and others have parted ways with the party in protest against the violent protests.

Elahi was appointed as the PTI president in March this year only a month after he along with 10 former MPAs left the PML-Q to join the PTI.

Moonis Elahi, the PTI president’s son — who is active in politics and played a key role in convincing his father to join the PTI ranks — said his father was arrested in a fake case.

Moonis said his father and mother had already asked them to support the PTI even if they were arrested.

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