LHC grants PTI chairman protective bail in 9 legal cases n IHC stops police from arresting former PM in Toshakhana case n Century will be completed if police register six more cases, Imran tells LHC n IHC directs Imran not to disturb law and order situation during court appearance n Warns of contempt of court proceedings if PTI chief skips today’s hearing.
LAHORE/ISLAMABAD – The Lahore High Court (LHC) Friday granted protective bail to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in at least nine legal cases registered by police on criminal and terrorism charges against him this week.
The development comes after days of a tense standoff between PTI supporters and police outside Imran’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore. Violent clashes erupted between police and PTI workers as officers tried to arrest Imran after another court issued his arrest warrants.
Accompanied by a large number of supporters, Imran Khan Friday reached the Lahore High Court to seek protective bail in the cases that were filed in Lahore and Islamabad in the aftermath of the confrontations.
Cases were filed on different charges including rioting, attempt to murder, abetment of violence and criminal conspiracy under the country’s anti-terrorism law, among others.
The two-member bench granted Imran Khan a 10-day relief for the cases filed in Lahore and set a March 24 Sahu Newsfor the cases registered in Islamabad. The two-judge bench headed by Lahore High Court Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh heard the bail application of Imran Khan in nine cases. Chairman PTI Imran Khan filed a total of nine applications for protective bail in the Lahore High Court, of which five in Islamabad and four in Lahore included applications for protective bail. Imran Khan’s lawyers Khawaja Tariq Rahim, Azhar Siddique argued that 9 cases of terrorism had been registered in Lahore and Islamabad against Imran Khan. We have filed applications for protective bail in other cases including the Zille Shah murder case. During the hearing, Fawad Chaudhry said that had the court not intervened, the law and order situation would have been further deteriorated. On this occasion, the court said ‘we have only a case of protective bail before us.’
PTI Chairman came to the rostrum and thanked the court for stepping into the matter and said the manner in which police stormed at Zaman Park made it look like we were terrorists, thank you for looking into this matter, he expressed gratitude.
The former premier also said that there were 94 cases registered against him, making it impossible for him to understand the situation. If the police lodge 6 more cases, the century will be completed but it will be a non-cricketing century. The court echoed with loud laughter on Imran Khan’s statement.
The former prime minister said that for a month and a half he was repeatedly maintaining that his life was in danger but he was not given security. The interior ministry has also said that my life is in severe danger, he added. Imran Khan said that the date of election had been announced and they are registering forged cases against him besides attacking his house. “I have never gone against the law during my entire life span,” he said.
Earlier, the court allowed Imran Khan to come to the Lahore High Court and restrained the police from arresting the PTI Chairman.
Accompanied by hundreds of supporters, Imran Khan departed from his Zaman Park residence for Lahore High Court around 4:00 pm. Imran Khan’s convoy reached the Lahore High Court at 5:48 pm where he was welcomed by PTI workers. Party activists raised slogans in favor of Imran and showered rose petals on his car. Imran Khan’s lawyer, Azhar Siddiq requested the Registrar Lahore High Court for permission to allow Imran Khan’s bullet-proof vehicle to enter the premises of the court, saying that there’s serious threat to Imran Khan life, so the vehicle should be allowed to enter, on which the Registrar’s office approved the request to bring the vehicle into the court premises.
When the high court gate was opened to bring Imran Khan’s car inside, a good number of workers along with Imran Khan’s car also managed to enter the court premises. Earlier, in the petition filed for Imran Khan’s protective bail through lawyer Azhar Siddique, the advocate pleaded that Imran wants to appear in court and face the charges against him but there was a fear of possible arrest by the police.
On behalf of Imran Khan, President Lahore High Court Bar Ishtiaq A Khan argued that Imran Khan wants to appear in court, but he has security concerns. Ishtiaq A. Khan pleaded to the court that Imran Khan has filed a request for protective bail the court should allow him to come to the high court.
The court asked the Punjab IGP that Imran Khan’s lawyers requested the court to allow him to appear in court, what do you say about his request. To which IGP replied that he would implement the court orders. The court asked the Advocate General Punjab to state whether he agreed or opposed the plea.
Advocate General Punjab questioned the court that you had stopped the execution of the arrest warrant, to which the court replied that ‘we have not stopped the execution of the arrest warrant of Imran Khan.’
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday barred the police from arresting PTI Chairman Imran Khan in Toshakhana case. A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of Khan’s petition filed through Khawaja Haris Ahmed, Barrister Goher Ali Khan, Intazar Hussian Panjutha, Syed Muhammad Ali Bokhari, Naeem Haider Panjutha and others. In his application, Khan sought interim relief by way of suspension of warrants of arrest in order to facilitate the petitioner to appear on the date in question voluntarily. Justice Aamer said in his written order,
“The petitioner shall not be arrested pursuant to the warrants in question provided that he appears before the learned Trial Court on 18.03.2023 within the court hours.”
“The petitioner shall also ensure the law and order situation is not disturbed in Islamabad Capital Territory on his appearance before the learned Trial Court. The District Administration, ICT as well as the Inspector General of Police, Islamabad shall ensure providing of proper and adequate security measures to the petitioner and all concerned,” said the IHC CJ.
He further said that in his regard the police as well as District Administration shall frame SOPs/lay down parameters for allowing only few persons to be present near the court premises/ compound to avoid any untoward incident.
Through the instant petition, the chairman PTI challenged the court’s order dated 16.03.2023, whereby the request on part of the petitioner to suspend/recall the warrants of arrest was turned down.
During the hearing, counsel for the petitioner contended that the reasons which prevailed with the trial court in dismissing the request of the petitioner are erroneous. He submitted that the undertaking as earlier shown to the Court was filed before the trial court along with an affidavit to the effect that the undertaking is genuine and authentic, but the same could not persuade the trial court in recalling the warrants of arrest.
The counsel for the petitioner was confronted, as to the status of undertaking and affidavit, to which he responded that undertaking by the petitioner tantamount to statement before the court that he shall appear before the Court on 18.03.2023.
Again, the counsel for the petitioner was asked that in case of violation of the said statement what would be the effect and whether this amounted to misstatement warranting contempt of court. All the counsels for the petitioner conceded to the position that the law shall take its course accordingly.
At this juncture, the counsel for the petitioner was directed to implead Inspector General of Police, ICT and the state which was accordingly done in the court. Then, the court issued notices to the respondents for 21.03.2023 and deferred the hearing.
The registrar’s office Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday issued a circular regarding the security and other administrative measures for March 21 during the appearance of PTI’s chairman Imran Khan.
The circular said that the entrance of lawyers and journalists in courtroom No.1 would be allowed through the special passes. It said that only 15 lawyers would be permitted to go along with Imran Khan in the courtroom.
The court had instructed the district administration to ensure the security arrangements during the hearing. The list could be provided till March 20, for issuance of special passes, it said. The court would hear the bail case of Imran Khan at 2:30pm in courtroom No.1 on March 21.
Meanwhile, the details of the security arrangements regarding Imran Khan’s possible appearance before a court of law in Toshakhana case were finalised on Friday. the security plan was decided during the meeting attended by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Dr Akbar Nasir Khan, DIG Security, Regional Police Officer (RPO) Rawalpindi Region Syed Khurram Ali and Shibli Faraz, the Chief of Staff of Imran Khan, the PTI head.
All the security arrangements were being made foolproof following the orders of Islamabad High Court (IHC), an official said. He added that police would deploy extra force to shield the former premier upon his arrival in court. He said that entry of all the unrelated persons would be completely banned in the premises of court. The police will tender a request with court to issue an SOP in this regard. A special mechanism of body search to be adopted on the occasion to avoid any crunch moment, he said.
He said that Shibli Faraz, CSO of former PM Imran Khan, has also tabled a request before capital city police chief to shift the courts of F-8 to Judicial Complex following security threats to PTI Chief to which IG ensured him that he would request the authorities concerned to ponder over the suggestion.
The spokesman also informed that it was decided to appoint a CSO for Imran Khan who will liaison with security team of former premier in Lahore through Shibli Faraz. “CSO may visit Lahore for further discussions and plans of security for Imran Khan,” he said.
Originally published at www.nation.com.pk