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Pak leader still in custody

Islamabad, Nov 4: Islamabad police today produced Javed Hashmi, acting chief of former Premier Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), in a lower court and obtained remand for another nine days for further questioning.

This was Hashmi’s first public appearance since October 29 when he was arrested from his residence after being charged with treason for “using provocative language against the armed forces and fanning hatred against them”.

He had displayed a letter purportedly sent by senior army officers demanding an investigation into the role of the army in national politics.

Hashmi was produced in the court of civil judge Rana Amir Saleem, who remanded him inpolice custody after a brief hearing. He was brought to the court amid heavy security.

Hashmi’s family has no clue yet about his whereabouts. However, according to unofficial sources, the Opposition leader may have been sent to the notorious Sehala Rest House near Islamabad. Most Opposition leaders are usually first brought to this rest house.

The Lahore High Court today reserved judgment in a petition filed by Javed Hashmi’s daughter, Memoona, against the “illegal arrest and detention” of her father.

“Memoona’s advocates — Aitzaz Ahsan and Syed Zafar Ali Shah — pleaded with the court to issue orders for Hashmi’s release on bail as he is being detained unlawfully and under fake charges,” PML () secretary, information, Siddique-ul-Farooque, said.

He said the lawyers informed the court that neither had they been provided a copy of the first information report (FIR) nor the letter which Hashmi had shown to the press and was produced in the court.

The combined Opposition continued its protests at parliament house. First they chanted slogans against the Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain in the National Assembly and then held a rally outside it.

The MPs later marched to the Supreme Court building where they made speeches against President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Mir Zaffarullah Khan Jamali.

Hashmi’s arrest has also forced the Muttahida Majlis-e-Ammal (MMA) to join the Opposition parties in the protest drive.

They demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Javed Hashmi and former Premier Benazir Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari, in jail since November 6 1996, the day Bhutto’s government was dismissed by her once trusted aide and the then President Farooq Leghari.

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