Background of the Case
The Punjab police have made the decision to approach the high court regarding a recent order by a Lahore anti-terrorism court. This order pertains to the discharge of PTI leader Yasmin Rashid in a case relating to the vandalism that took place at the Lahore Corps Commander’s Residence, also known as Jinnah House, on May 9.
Yasmin Rashid’s Detention and Charges
Yasmin Rashid, a prominent leader of the PTI, was initially detained alongside 17 other women PTI workers under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance. This action was taken following her alleged involvement in the riots that occurred on May 9, where numerous private and public properties, including military installations, were vandalized. However, she was re-arrested shortly after the Lahore High Court ordered her release on May 13.
In addition to the initial detention, Rashid faced charges in three separate cases registered in Lahore, all related to her alleged participation in the May 9 riots. However, due to her medical condition, the police decided to keep her at Services Hospital in Lahore, where she was taken from Kot Lakhpat jail. Last week, an ATC granted the police a three-day physical remand of Rashid for a photogrammetric test in connection with the Jinnah House vandalism case. Since then, she has remained in police custody.
Punjab Police’s Response and Investigation
In response to a recent order for Rashid’s release, the Punjab police released a statement emphasizing their commitment to bringing all those responsible for the May 9 incident to justice. The police asserted that the investigation into the Jinnah House attack case was being conducted meticulously, following scientific protocols.
The police statement also addressed a tweet from the PTI chief, stating that the court order would be challenged as the police were not given the opportunity to present forensic evidence in the case. It further mentioned that any premature assumptions or inferences at this stage could be misleading. The police expressed their determination to investigate the case thoroughly and reveal the truth to the public.
Court’s Decision and Discharge of Suspects
Recently, the Sarwar Road police presented Yasmin Rashid and other suspects before the Lahore ATC. The investigating officer requested a 14-day physical remand of Rashid to conduct various tests and recover her mobile phone(s). However, Rashid’s lawyer opposed the remand, arguing that the police had no evidence against his client. He highlighted Rashid’s elderly age and multiple health issues, expressing concern for her well-being in police custody.
Upon reviewing the case record, Judge Abher Gul Khan noted that Rashid was neither nominated in the FIR nor involved through supplementary statements. The judge stated that Rashid’s summoning in the case was based on the disclosure of a co-suspect, which held no evidentiary value in the eyes of the law. Consequently, the judge ordered the police to release Rashid immediately if she was not required in any other case.
However, due to Rashid’s judicial remand in two other cases, including the attack on Shadman police station and the violence on Sher Pao Bridge, she was not released. The investigating officer informed the court that out of 126 suspects who underwent the identification parade in the Jinnah House attack case, 23 were found not guilty. As a result, the court allowed the police’s application and discharged these 23 suspects from the case.