A Pakistani court on Thursday quashed the charge of causing mischief against a high-ranking retired Army general and ordered his immediate release from police custody.
Lt General (retd.) Amjad Shoaib, a prominent supporter of former prime minister Imran Khan, was arrested by the Islamabad police on Monday after a first information report was registered against him. Shoaib, who was accused of inciting the public against national institutions, was remanded to police custody for three days.
Shoaib was presented before a district and sessions court at the end of his three-day remand. Additional Sessions Judge Tahir Abbas Supra conducted the hearing.
His lawyer Mian Ashfaq in his argument termed the case as “bogus” as the accused didn’t target any community in his TV talk. ”He is owning the statement he has given during the TV program. We are standing by our statement,” the lawyer said.
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The lawyer further said that the late night TV program in question had ended at 11 pm and none of army personnel or civil servants the next day came forward to file a complaint.
The general, when asked by the court to clarify his statement, said that he was talking in a historical sense and not asking people to revolt. ”I was talking about history that nothing has ever been achieved from sit-ins and rallies,” he said.
Though the prosecution tried to prolong the case, the judge after the hearing arguments went into a brief recess and later announced the verdict by dismissing the charges against Shoaib with remarks that ”there was no corroborated evidence to prove the charges for remand”.
The FIR had invoked section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups, etc) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code by asserting that the retired general passed statements that “incited the government officials and opposition from performing their government and legal duties”.
Shoaib has been a regular face of Pakistan TV talk-shows for the last many years and better known for his controversial remarks.
He was previously summoned by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to appear on September 7 last year after he claimed a meeting held between the Pakistani prime minister and an Israeli team. However, he didn’t appear before the FIA’s Cybercrimes Wing.