In a major development, Awami Muslim League (AML) chief and former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was arrested from his Rawalpindi residence in the early hours of Thursday.
Sheikh Rashid was arrested in connection with remarks he allegedly made against former president Asif Ali Zardari, accusing him of hatching a “murder plot to eliminate PTI chief Imran Khan”.
According to the details, the vice president of PPP Rawalpindi Division, Raja Inayat-ur-Rehman filed a police complaint against Sheikh Rashid’s remarks. The FIR was registered at Islamabad’s Aabpara Police Station.
Read more: Sheikh Rashid challenges order to vacate Lal Haveli
The FIR added that Sheikh Rashid, with his allegations, wants to cause a fight between the PTI and the PPP and disrupt the country’s peace.
After his arrest, Sheikh Rashid posted a photograph on Twitter of him smiling while smoking a cigar at the Aabpara Police Station. The picture of the senior politician looking seemingly unbothered by his arrest has gone viral on social media.
تھانہ آبپارہ میں pic.twitter.com/wEm0CFmXrS
— Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (@ShkhRasheed) February 1, 2023
شیخ رشید آبپارہ پولیس اسٹیشن میں@ShkhRasheed #SheikhRasheed #SheikhRasheedArrested pic.twitter.com/cIoxJc3LFJ
— Siasat.pk (@siasatpk) February 2, 2023
Speaking to the media after being arrested, claimed that at least “100 to 200 armed people” raided his residence. The former interior minister said police forcibly hustled him into their vehicle. Sheikh Rashid alleged that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah is behind his arrest. However, he said that truth would prevail at the end of the day and he stood by Imran Khan.
On the other hand, Sheikh Rashid’s arrest has sparked strong condemnations, especially from PTI, as the arrest comes soon after PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry was arrested in a sedition case.
Read more: Moonis Elahi hits back at Sheikh Rashid for accusing PML-Q of blackmail
PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the arrest of his close aide and blamed the interim Punjab government — led by media mogul Moshin Naqvi — for being biased.
“Strongly condemn the arrest of Sheikh Rasheed. Never in our history have we had such a biased, vindictive Caretaker govt appt by a totally discredited ECP. The question is can Pakistan afford a street movement which we are being pushed towards at a time when we have been bankrupted by Imported Govt?” Imran Khan said.
Strongly condemn arrest of Sh Rasheed.Never in our history have we had such a biased, vindictive Caretaker govt appt by totally discredited ECP. Question is can Pak afford a street movement which we are being pushed towards at a time when we have been bankrupted by Imported Govt?
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 1, 2023