An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Rawalpindi on Monday sent Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Anjum Aqeel on judicial remand till July 30.
The ATC rejected his physical remand, however, fearing that it would result in a repeat of events that took place on Friday. Within hours of his arrest, he was forcibly freed by as many as 30 armed men, purportedly party workers. Aqeel was arrested for his involvement in the Rs6 billion National Police Foundation land scam.
The Station House Officer (SHO) Shalimar requested the court to allow police to take the two men into physical custody for seven days. He said this was necessary in order to acquire information about the weapons and the car used for his forcible release on Friday.
The lawyer of the MNA, however, maintained that Aqeel did not know the people and that they had coercively took him away from police custody. Aqeel said he was being politically victimised by the federal government and the cases being registered against him were false.
Prominent supporters outside the courtroom in Rawalpindi where Aqeel was brought amidst tight security were MNA Malik Abrar Ahmed and MPA Ziaullah Shah.
Charges pile up
In another land scam case being heard by a judicial magistrate in Islamabad, Aqeel was given into police custody for three days. The case was registered against him in 2002.
Aqeel was brought before the court of judicial magistrate Rai Liaquat Kharal. Police requested the court to sentence him to seven days of police custody, but the court granted only three days of physical remand instead.
(WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM OBAID ABBASI IN ISLAMABAD)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2011.
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