Claim: ARY News reported that businessman Sheikh Danish, the main accused in a recent case of kidnapping and torture in Faisalabad, has been released on bail.

Fact: Danish has not been granted bail. He is presently in police custody under physical remand ordered by a judicial magistrate in Faisalabad.

On 8 August 2022, an incident of torture took place in Faisalabad, when an influential businessman Sheikh Danish and his 14 accomplices arrived at the house of a final-year dentistry student, kidnapping, sexually harassing, and torturing her for refusing a marriage proposal. The student’s brother was also allegedly subjected to harassment and torture.

On 16 August 2022, the Faisalabad police registered an FIR against the accused at the victim’s complaint. The accused and his accomplices had forcibly taken the victim to Danish’s residence, where they forced her to lick his shoes, shaved her head, and filmed the episode to blackmail her.

On 17 August 2022, ARY News ran a televised headline and published a news report claiming the main accused, Sheikh Danish, had been granted bail. An image of Sheikh Danish next to the aforementioned ARY News headline was shared widely on social media. The photo received thousands of engagements on social media.

Head of Prime Minister of Pakistan’s Strategic Reforms, Salman Sufi, also tweeted about the incident, confirming that the accused is still in custody and the news about his release is false information.

Fact or Fiction?

News reports from 18 August 2022 state that a judicial magistrate in Faisalabad granted the police’s request to keep Sheikh Danish under physical remand for another two days, with  no mention of the accused being granted bail.

Soch Fact Check spoke to the office of Faisalabad City Police Officer (CPO) Omer Saeed Malik, who confirmed that Sheikh Danish has not received bail, and news reports to the contrary are incorrect. The office of the CPO confirmed that, at the time of publishing, Danish is in police custody.

From a legal perspective, the purpose of physical remand is to allow police to investigate the crime without any interference from the accused. “Once the accused is granted judicial remand or sent to prison, they can apply for bail, not before,” said Maryam Najam-ud-Din, a lawyer at Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell. Therefore, the law necessitates that the accused cannot be granted bail until they are transferred from physical remand to judicial remand.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the two-day period from 16 August 2022 to 18 August 2022 using the following search terms:

  • “ضمانت” “دانش” “فیصلاباد”
  • “bail” “Faisalabad” “torture”

On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we found several posts sharing the ARY News screenshot in which it is claimed that Sheikh Danish has been granted bail. These posts reached over 6500 likes and comments. Some of these can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: Sheikh Danish, the main accused in a case of kidnapping and torture widely discussed on social media, has not been granted bail as claimed by a viral ARY News report and headline, according to CPO Faisalabad’s conversation with Soch Fact Check.

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