Sheikh Rasheed’s arrest & bail: Fascism continues

Sheikh Rasheed, leader of the Awami Muslim League, a close political aide of Imran Khan, and a supporter of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was detained on a complaint made by the vice president of the PPP's Rawalpindi Division. After numerous bail requests were denied, the Islamabad High Court finally granted him bail.


Sheikh Rasheed was ultimately granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the case involving his accusations that Asif Ali Zardari had conspired to kill Imran Khan. Rasheed’s post-arrest bail hearing was presided over by Judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, who also delivered the reserved verdict and issued an order for the former interior minister to post surety bonds worth Rs 50,000. Rasheed’s post-arrest bail request had already been denied twice by Islamabad’s sessions court, which led him to request his release from the IHC.

Rasheed was detained on February 2 as a result of a complaint made by Raja Inayatur Rehman, the vice president of the PPP Rawalpindi Division. In the complaint, he claimed that the AML chief had accused Zardari of enlisting the help of terrorists to plan the murder of former prime minister Imran Khan.

Read more: Picture of Sheikh Rashid smoking a cigar at Aabpara Police station goes viral

The FIR was filed at the Aabpara Police Station under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups, etc.), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code. At the Murree police station, he was also charged with another offence for assaulting a police officer during the course of the arrest. It was reported in accordance with Sections 353 of the PPC (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from performing his duties), 186 (obstructing a public servant in the discharge of a public function), and 506(ii) of the PPC (criminal intimidation).

Cases against PTI leaders

Additionally, it was revealed that Sheikh Rasheed was the subject of yet another case brought against him by Karachi’s Mochko police when a local PPP lawmaker accused him of using “filthy and immoral language” when addressing the media in front of Islamabad’s Polyclinic Hospital.

The FIR was filed in accordance with Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 500 (punishment for defamation), Section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), and Section 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the PPC. According to his attorney’s arguments on February 4, a fourth case was later filed against the AML head in Lasbela, Balochistan.

Sheikh Rasheed’s arrest is the latest in a string of operations against PTI leaders, allies, activists, and journalists after Imran Khan was deposed in April 2022. This has left the country in a state of social unrest and political anarchy. PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry was taken into custody at his home in Lahore in January 2023 after a charge was filed against him at Islamabad’s Kohsar Police Station. He was later released. In August 2022, PTI leader Shehbaz Gill was arrested on sedition charges. During his captivity, he was tortured physically, mentally, and sexually. Azam Swati, a senior senator and leader of the PTI, was also tortured in custody after being arrested in October 2022 due to his tweets.

Read more: PTI leaders voluntarily surrender as Jail Bharo Tehreek begins

In addition, the Sharif government has charged several journalists with terrorism. Journalists have been detained, and a couple of well-known political talk show hosts have left the country. International attention is now being drawn to Pakistan’s deteriorating human rights situation. Senator Azam Khan Swati’s complaint against senior members of the security forces, including former army head General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, was recently accepted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Committee on Human Rights at its 170th session. Numerous activists point out that the Sharif government’s continued assault on the Pakistani people’s right to free expression is an illustration of fascism.

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