Court orders pre-trial detention for one of former prime minister Jan’s closest allies

Archive – Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Jan – -/Kremlin /dpa

An Islamabad court has placed former Interior Minister Shaykh Rashid, one of Pakistan’s closest allies of former Prime Minister Imran Jan, under provisional detention for 14 days for accusing the co-chairman of one of Pakistan’s main ruling parties, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of orchestrating the assassination attempt on the former leader in November last year.

In the latest episode in the long-running standoff between Jan and the current Pakistani authorities, the court has decided to remand Rashid in custody after accusing Asif Ali Zardari of conspiring to kill the former prime minister.

It should be recalled that Rashid is facing two more cases against him, one for threatening police personnel and the other for making «offensive remarks» towards PPP chairman and current foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

During the hearing, Rashid alleged that he had been a victim of torture by the police. The former minister accused the officers of having kept him tied to a chair for hours, blindfolded. «To keep me as they have kept me, I prefer to be sentenced to death,» he told the court, according to the Pakistani television channel GEO TV.

Ousted from power after a no-confidence motion in April last year, Jan and his party – the Pakistan Justice Movement – continue to enjoy high levels of popularity, as demonstrated by the «long march» he orchestrated late last year in the country, which was called off after the assassination attempt.

Jan denounces that his dismissal was the result of a conspiracy in which he has come to involve the current government, the Army and even the United States, which has denied any involvement in these events.