The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), last week, issued a notice to Awami Muslim League President Sheikh Rashid to vacate land adjacent to his Lal Haveli residence within seven days, maintaining the former minister had failed to pay rent or respond to its notices over its possession.
In its notice, the ETPB said both Rashid and his brother, Sheikh Sadeeq, had lost “legal possession” of the property after failing to respond to its earlier notices and refusing to pay arrears of rent. It warned the politician that if he did not comply with the orders within seven days, police could be deployed to get the property forcibly vacated. In this regard, the ETPB has also written to the deputy commissioner of Rawalpindi for police assistance on Oct. 19, when the deadline expires.
Lal Haveli, located in Rawalpindi’s Bohra Bazaar, has served as Rashid’s office for several decades. The building was originally the property of a Hindu woman pre-Partition but was converted into a political office in 1980 after Rashid entered parliamentary politics.
On Monday morning, Rashid challenged the ETPB’s notice in a district and sessions court. Additional Sessions Judge Khursheed Alam Bhatti subsequently issued a notice to the director of the ETPB to appear before it with a complete record of the case and warned the authority against taking any illegal action pending proceedings, scheduled for Oct. 24.
According to the petition filed by Rashid, the case against Lal Haveli is part of a “political vendetta.”
In an interview with daily Dawn, Rashid’s nephew Sheikh Shafique claimed the case was an attempt by the ruling coalition to damage the PTI’s planned long march on Islamabad. Stressing that the Lal Haveli residence faced no case, he admitted that seven units adjacent to Lal Haveli had been leased by Rashid, but even that case had been decided in 2019.