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Sheikh Rashid’s Mysterious Disappearance: What We Know So Far

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Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid’s whereabouts have remained shrouded in mystery for almost 15 days after his arrest from his residence in Rawalpindi. While his lawyer asserts that he is in the custody of the Rawalpindi police, local law enforcement officials vehemently deny having him under arrest. This perplexing situation has triggered a series of legal actions, including an order from the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench directing the police to locate Rashid’s whereabouts and urging them to exert every effort to ensure his recovery. As this enigmatic saga unfolds, we delve into the timeline of events leading up to Sheikh Rashid’s arrests and the subsequent uncertainties surrounding his situation.

January: The year started with the sealing of Rashid’s renowned Lal Haveli residence by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) due to discrepancies in ownership documents. The Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench swiftly ordered the property’s de-sealing after a reprimand of an ETPB administrator for unclear stances.

February: The capital police issued a final warning to Rashid to appear before them concerning an alleged complaint about his objectionable remarks against former President Asif Ali Zardari. This warning was prompted by Rashid’s claim that Zardari had recruited terrorists to target PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Subsequently, Rashid was arrested, granted physical remand, and faced multiple FIRs in various parts of the country.

February: The Islamabad High Court issued a stay order against the registration of FIRs against Rashid across the country, preventing his handover to the Sindh and Balochistan police in cases related to his alleged objectionable remarks about Zardari. However, a sessions court granted the Murree police his one-day transit remand despite the stay order.

February: Rashid was finally granted bail by the Islamabad High Court after the rejection of his post-arrest bail plea twice.

February: The Lahore Anti-Corruption Establishment initiated a fresh probe against Rashid, investigating allegations of money laundering.

May: As part of the government’s crackdown on PTI and its leaders following the May 9 violence, Rashid’s diplomatic passport was cancelled, along with those of nine other high-profile PTI leaders.

May: Despite the crackdown and the departure of notable PTI leaders, Rashid pledged unwavering support for Imran Khan, even in the face of potential danger. He alleged that raids were conducted at the homes of his family members.

May: Rashid responded to a notice from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Al-Qadir Trust case, the same case in which Imran Khan had been arrested.

May: Rashid claimed that a large group, including Rangers and Islamabad police, forcefully raided his home and tortured his house workers.

June: Rashid continued to lament police raids, alleging further incidents of harassment and abuse by law enforcement personnel.

September: Rashid was arrested again from his residence in Rawalpindi, with his lawyer and nephew confirming the arrest. However, the Islamabad and Punjab police denied his detention.

September: The Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench was petitioned for Rashid’s production order by his nephew, Sheikh Amir Shafique, who sought directives for the police to produce Rashid, his brother, and two servants in court.

September: The Lal Haveli residence’s ownership dispute resurfaced, leading to its sealing once more.

September: The Rawalpindi police denied arresting Rashid, prompting the Lahore High Court to order them to locate his whereabouts and ensure his recovery. Further proceedings were adjourned to October 2.

September: In a video statement, Rashid’s nephew reiterated the family’s lack of information about Rashid’s location and urged Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and Lahore High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq to intervene.

As the search for Sheikh Rashid continues and legal battles persist, the mystery surrounding his disappearance raises questions about the rule of law and transparency in Pakistan’s legal system.

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