Sheikh Rashid urges COAS to grant amnesty

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Ex-minister says up to 90pc of people accused of various charges in May 9 cases are innocent

Mehtab Pirzada

ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmad appealed to Army Chief Gen Asim Munir and ISI Director General Nadeem Anjum on Thursday to grant amnesty [to those arrested in connection with the May 9 riots] on the auspicious occasion of Eidul Azha. 

Speaking to a group of reporters on the Islamabad sessions court premises, Rashid observed that almost 80 to 90 percent of people accused of various charges [in the May 9 cases] were innocent. 

The AML chief also appealed for the release of PTI women leaders Alia Hamza and Sanam Javed, expressing concern over the way they were being transferred from one jail to another, likening their treatment to that of the “queens of Jhansi”. 

Expressing concern over the deteriorating security situation and growing inflation, Rashid lamented that even funeral processions were being targeted by robbers in Rawalpindi. 

Rashid accentuated the importance of the army’s honour and dignity to every Pakistani, but voiced apprehension about the release of people arrested over suspicion in connection with the May 9 events after serving a year in prison. 

The former minister warned that time was slipping away, noting that Pakistani investors were leaving the country. He also expressed regret that investment agreements signed with China during his tenure as minister in the Pervez Musharraf era were stalled. 

Earlier, Sheikh Rashid, accompanied by his counsel Ali Nawaz Awan, appeared in the District and Sessions Court, Islamabad, for a hearing on a case related to vandalism during PTI’s Azadi March. 

However, the hearing was postponed until June 10 due to the unavailability of Civil Judge Malik Muhammad Imran.

The case had been registered at the I-9 police station against PTI founder Imran Khan, Sheikh Rashid, and others.