The Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench Monday gave seven days to Rawalpindi police to present former interior minister and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid in court.

The court’s decision came during the hearing of a petition challenging the arrest of the senior politician, who was taken into custody by men in plain clothes from a housing society in Rawalpindi on September 17.

His lawyer, Sardar Abdul Razzak claimed his client was arrested from a rented house in the housing society, while his nephew was also apprehended.

Following Rashid’s arrest, his lawyer said no case was registered against the AML chief in the limits of Punjab. He added that the politician was nominated in a case lodged at Kohsar police station in connection with a protest rally held on May 10 by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the detention of its Chairman Imran Khan.

“We do not know the whereabouts of Rashid so far. Efforts are being made to trace him,” his lawyer had claimed in the wake of his arrest.

Meanwhile, the court inquired Rawalpindi Regional Police Officer (RPO) Syed Khurram Ali regarding the whereabouts of Sheikh Rashid and those arrested with him.

Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan asked whether the police would present the AML chief or write a letter to the court, responding to which the police officer requested the court to grant an additional 15 days of time.

“Fifteen days are a lot. This is not an ordinary matter,” the court remarked, noting that even a two-day extension would be too much.

Upon the request of Rashid’s lawyer, the court granted an additional seven-day time to the police.

“If Sheikh Rashid is not presented within a week, the court will issue orders for the registration of a first information report FIR,” said Justice Khan.

The court also inquired regarding the two individuals arrested along with Sheikh Rashid. 

“What are the detainees saying after being released?” asked Justice Khan.

“Both the released individuals have remained silent and are refraining from saying anything,” Razzak responded.

The politician’s lawyer further informed the court about possessing evidence regarding the Rawalpindi police arresting his client, after which the court postponed the hearing of the case for a week.

Sheikh Rashid’s Lal Haveli sealed

Meanwhile, the AML chief’s historic Lal Haveli residence in Rawalpindi was sealed by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) on September 21.

Speaking to the media ETPB deputy administrator Asif Khan said the former interior minister’s residence has been completely sealed as the documents submitted by Rashid were not valid.

The decision to vacate Lal Haveli was issued by the ETPB chairman, said the deputy administrator.

The body conducted the operation to evict the occupants early in the morning in the presence of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and a heavy police contingent.

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