Wednesday June 19, 2024

Police to visit Zaman Park to arrest Imran Khan in ‘next 24 hours’

Islamabad police will be completely supported by Lahore's police officials and it will be ensured that cops reach Zaman Park

By Ahmed Faraz
March 13, 2023
Islamabad Police conduct a flag march in the federal capital, on August 5, 2023. — APP
Islamabad Police conduct a flag march in the federal capital, on August 5, 2023. — APP

LAHORE: Following the directives of Islamabad courts to arrest Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, sources said the Islamabad police will visit Zaman Park in the next 24 hours to arrest the former prime minister.

A sessions court in Islamabad issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Khan in a case of threatening a female judge belonging to a court in the federal capital.

Desperate to put him behind bars, a police party from Islamabad earlier in the day flew by helicopter to Lahore to arrest the PTI chairman — who was ousted as the prime minister last year in April.

The sources told Geo News that several decisions were taken during a meeting between Islamabad and Lahore's police officials — as the law enforcers came to the city for the second time to arrest Khan.

The meeting's participants decided that the Islamabad police would be completely supported and it will be ensured that the capital's cops reach Khan's Zaman Park residence with no hindrances, the sources said.

"Before Islamabad police leave for Zaman Park, they will contact Khan's chief security officer," the sources added.

Khan was booked in a case for threatening judicial magistrate Zeba Chaudhry and police officers at a rally in F-9 Park on August 20, to “terrorise” police officials and the judiciary.

The main aim was to prevent the police officers and judiciary from carrying out their legal obligations, stated the FIR. The FIR was registered on the complaint of Magistrate Ali Javed at Islamabad's Margalla Police Station under Section 7 of ATA.

However, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) last year in September quashed the terror charges and directed to transfer of the case to a relevant court under the remaining sections in the FIR.

Two courts have issued Khan's non-bailable arrest warrants in separate cases, however, he has not appeared before them repeatedly — and instead, held a rally in Lahore, where he also announced to hold a "historic" rally this Sunday.

In connection with the Toshakhana case, the capital police had arrived on March 5 as well in Lahore, but they were told that Khan was not at his Zaman Park residence, resulting in them leaving empty-handed.

Issuance of warrants over repeated non-appearance

Earlier in the day, Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim released the three-page reserved verdict and issued non-bailable arrest warrants over Khan's repeated non-appearance.

Dismissing Khan's petition seeking exemption from attending the hearing of the case in person, the court ordered the police to produce the PTI chief before it by March 29.

The former prime minister, instead of attending the hearing, filed a plea for an exemption from physically appearing before the judge, requesting permission for joining the court proceedings virtually via video link.

During the hearing, a lawyer for the PTI chief, Intezar Haider Panjutha, said it was not safe for the 71-year-old politician to come to Islamabad amid security threats against him, adding that they have filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) asking permission to appear virtually before the courts.

Another member of Khan's legal team, Naeem Haider Panjutha, said a petition has been filed seeking exemption from attendance on behalf of the former prime minister on security grounds.

The lawyer also requested to accept Imran's plea, mentioning "not appearing for some reasons and not willing to appear are two different things."

The court gave Khan a chance to appear before it, but he did not show up, resulting in the issuance of the warrants.

Toshakhana case 

A district and sessions court earlier in the day also restored the former prime minister's non-bailable arrest warrant in the Toshakhana case.

The Islamabad court had earlier reserved its verdict on a petition filed by the former prime minister seeking an exemption from the hearing of the case.

Last week, the IHC suspended the non-bailable arrest warrant for Khan issued by the local court issued due to the PTI chief's continuous absence.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq accepted the PTI chief's plea against Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal's decision and directed Khan to ensure that he appears before the lower court on March 13.

However, during today's hearing, Khan filed an exemption plea citing security threats and failed to appear before the court once again.

Rejecting Khan's exemption plea, the court issued orders to arrest the PTI chief and present him before the court on March 18.

"It is the police's job to bring Imran Khan to the court," remarked the court.