A local court in Islamabad on Thursday approved a two-day physical remand of Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in a case registered against him for levelling allegations against former president Asif Ali Zardari. The former minister, who is a close aide of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, was arrested from Murree Motorway, police confirmed this morning, in a move that drew strong criticism from the former premier. Judicial Magistrate Umar Shabbir rejected the police’s plea to send Rashid on an eight-day physical remand and asked the authorities to produce the former interior minister at the next hearing. At the outset of the hearing, Rashid asked that his handcuffs be removed. He told the court that he’s been appointed as the federal minister at least 16 times. After this, police unlocked Rashid’s handcuffs on the court’s order. Abdul Razzaq, the lawyer of the former interior minister, began his arguments and said that Rashid has been targeted in a politically motivated case. The case against Rashid was registered at 8pm last night. The police had arrested Rashid against the high court’s orders. The police, instead of arresting Rashid, should have called Asif Zardari to the station.” The lawyer added that the FIR mentions that the ex-minister wanted to create a conflict between the two groups. However, the names of PPP and PTI have not been mentioned, he said. “Political parties criticise each other every day. If such cases will be registered, then no politician will be able to speak,” he said. He added that only a provincial or federal government could register cases under Sections 153A and 505 – and not a political party’s worker. The prosecutor then told the court that Rashid tried to create “threats” for the family members of the Zardari. He added that in line with the charges, Rashid could face up to seven years in prison. “Rashid had alleged that Zardari was hatching a plot to assassinate Imran,” he said, noting that severe fights take place in Pakistan on smaller accusations. He added that Rashid made the statement to incite workers of both parties. The police claimed to arrest Rashid from Murree Road in the wee hours of Thursday. However, the former interior minister and his nephew, Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, contradicted the police’s version and said that the authorities took him into custody from his house in Rawalpindi and not the motorway. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Rawalpindi Division President Raja Inayat Ur Rehman had filed a case against Rashid in Islamabad’s Aabpara Police Station for alleging that former president Asif Ali Zardari was hatching a plot to assassinate the PTI chief. In the FIR, the PPP divisional president stated that the AML chief tried to badmouth a former president and cause a “permanent danger” to the PPP co-chairman and his family.