Court terms search warrant for Imran Khan's Zaman Park residence 'ineffective'

May 30, 2023

PTI chief had moved anti-terrorism court three days back against search warrant

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Riot police push a main door to enter the residence of former prime minister Imran Khan, in Lahore on March 18, 2023, after he left for Islamabad to appear in a court. — AFP

LAHORE: A search warrant for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's residence in Zaman Park was declared to be "ineffective" by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) Tuesday.

ATC Judge Abhar Gul Khan announced the verdict on the PTI chief's petition, which was reserved earlier. He observed that a one-time search warrant is not for forever.

The former prime minister, who was removed from power via a no-confidence vote in April last year, has been residing in Zaman Park since he was injured in an assassination attempt in Wazirabad on November 3 2022.

The PTI chief had moved the court three days back against the search warrant, naming the state, commissioner of Lahore, DIG operations Lahore, SSP operations Lahore, and others as respondents.

In the plea, Khan claimed that law enforcement personnel secured the warrant with "malicious intent".

"It is most respectfully prayed that the search warrant relating to petitioner’s house situated at Zaman Park, Lahore may kindly be set aside/cancelled/recalled being illegal, unlawful, inappropriate which lacks the requisite legal parameters for a valid warrant in the interest of justice and fair play," he said in the plea.

Urging the court to take strict action against the respondents, Khan asked the court to deal with them severely for "their unlawful and illegal misuse of authority under the pretext of the search warrant".

The authorities had secured the search warrants claiming that they wanted to arrest the "terrorists" present inside the PTI chief's residence. However, when they arrived there on May 19, Khan refused to allow a search operation at his residence.

The hearing

At the outset of the hearing, the judge asked the commissioner what was the reason behind the law enforcers' action at Zaman Park. The commissioner said his men went here to remove encroachments.

But, he noted, they had not followed up on the search warrants so far.

The judge asked the investigating officer whether he still needed the search warrants. At this, he said that he would respond to the court's question after consulting his colleagues.

The court, after hearing arguments, had reserved the verdict.

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