IHC grants ex-minister Sheikh Rashid bail in allegations against Zardari case

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted former federal minister Sheikh Rashid bail and ordered his release in a case relating to allegations levelled against former president Asif Ali Zardari being allegedly involved in an assassination plot against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

The high court ordered Rashid's release on the submission of surety bonds worth Rs50,000. Rashid, a close ally of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, is in Adiala jail on judicial remand.

The Awami Muslim League (AML) chief was arrested on February 2 in a case of levelling allegations against Zardari. A day after his arrest, the Murree police also registered a case against him. The FIR was lodged on the complaint of investigation officer Ashiq Ali from the Aabpara police station, Islamabad. Rashid was accused of threatening police personnel. An FIR was also registered at the Mochko police station in Karachi against Rashid for using "filthy" language against Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto. A similar case was also registered against him in Lasbela.

Rashid's bail application was heard in the IHC on Thursday. The former minister's lawyer Salman Akram Raja, Islamabad Advocate-General Jahangir Jadoon and the Abpara SHO appeared in court.

At the outset of today's hearing, Rashid’s lawyer told the court his client is seeking post-arrest bail. He added that the additional sessions judge had rejected the bail plea in the case filed on just one allegation.

“What was the accusation?” asked the court.

Raja told the court that a case against his client was registered based on his statement aired on news channels. He added that the former interior minister is currently on judicial remand.

The lawyer added that the court, while rejecting the bail, had said it feared that Rashid may make such statements again after being released.

The court then once again asked the lawyer what accusation Rashid had made and whether it was run on any news channels.

“Yes, he gave a statement that was aired on news channels. Evidence does not indicate that it triggered a fight between PTI and Pakistan Peoples Party,” argued the lawyer.

Once Raja completed his arguments, Islamabad advocate-general Jahangir Jadoon approached the rostrum and contended that Rashid was a senior politician and his statements should have been parliamentary. He added that those who are part of the government right now will be the Opposition tomorrow.

The government lawyer told the court that Rashid had also abused FM Bilawal.

At this, Raja intervened and said that the government lawyer was referring to a different case.

Meanwhile, the investigating officer told the court that they had obtained details of Rashid's statement from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

The officer said that Rashid had stated that he took this information from Imran Khan. However, he added that when Rashid was probed, they were unable to find any evidence on him.

The court then reserved its verdict and later granted Rashid bail.

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