The Punjab police decided on Sunday to approach the high court against a Lahore anti-terrorism court’s order to discharge PTI leader Yasmin Rashid in a case pertaining to vandalism at the Lahore Corps Commander’s Residence — also called Jinnah House — on May 9.
The PTI chief’s arrest at the Islamabad High Court last month by the paramilitary Rangers in a corruption case had sparked countrywide protests, during which several private and public properties, including military installations, were vandalised.
Rashid, along with 17 other women PTI workers, was initially detained under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance and was re-arrested merely hours after the LHC had ordered her release on May 13.
She was also charged in three cases registered in Lahore pertaining to her alleged involvement in May 9 riots. However, due to her medical condition, police had decided at the time to keep her at Services Hospital in Lahore, where she was taken from Kot Lakhpat jail.
Last week, an ATC had granted police three-day physical remand of Rashid for a photogrammetric test in the Jinnah House vandalism case and she has remained in police custody since.
A day earlier, a Lahore ATC had ordered Rashid’s release along with 23 other suspects and discharged her from the case. She was not released due to other cases pertaining to the May 9 protests.
However, in a statement issued today, the Punjab police said: “All conspirators, planners, and perpetrators of the May 9 incident, including Dr Yasmin Rashid, would be brought to justice.”
It stated that the investigation into the Jinnah House attack case was being conducted on “scientific lines”.
The statement was released in response to the PTI chief’s tweet regarding Rashid’s acquittal.
“The court order is being challenged as police were not given the opportunity to present forensic evidence in the case. The court (ATC) order will attain finality after the order of the High Court,” it said.
“Police reserves its right to investigate the case and to bring the truth before the public.
“Any premature assumption/inference at this stage is likely to be misleading,” the police statement added.
ATC discharges Yasmin Saturday, the Sarwar Road police had produced Dr Rashid and others before the Lahore ATC.
The investigating officer had requested the court to grant a 14-day physical remand of Rashid to conduct her photogrammetry test, voice match, and recover her mobile phone(s).
Advocate Rana Mudassar Umar, on behalf of Rashid, opposed the remand and argued that the police had no evidence against his client. He said Rashid was an elderly woman with multiple health issues and her custody with the police might endanger her life.
Judge Abher Gul Khan had observed that the case record revealed that Rashid was not nominated in the FIR nor was she involved through supplementary statements.
The judge noted that the woman leader was summoned in the case based on the disclosure of a co-suspect, which had no evidentiary value in the eyes of the law.
The judge had ordered the police to release Rashid forthwith if not required in any other case.
However, the PTI leader was not released as she is on judicial remand in two other cases, including the attack on Shadman police station and violence on Sher Pao Bridge.
The IO further told the court that as many as 126 suspects had undergone the process of the identification parade in the Jinnah House attack case. He said 23 suspects had not been found guilty in the identification parade, therefore, they could be discharged in the case.
The judge allowed the police application and discharged 23 suspects in the case.