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Saturday June 15, 2024

Ahead of Toshakhana case appearance, Imran Khan moves IHC against possible arrest

Imran Khan tells IHC he is obeying its orders and appearing before court

By Awais Yousafzai
March 18, 2023
The Islamabad High Court (IHC). — AFP/File
The Islamabad High Court (IHC). — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Ahead of his appearance before an Islamabad court in the Toshakhana case against him, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against his possible arrest.

Khan is set to appear before the Federal Judicial Complex in the court of additional sessions judge Zafar Iqbal — after skipping several hearings and getting relief multiple times.

The PTI chief's non-bailable arrest warrants were issued in the Toshakhana case on several occasions, but recently, the IHC barred police from arresting Khan after he assured the high court that he would not skip the hearing on March 18 and ensure his appearance before the trial court.

The plea mentioned that the Islamabad police, in order to "create terror and harassment", had blocked the roads leading to the judicial complex and also blocked the motorway and other highways to create hurdles in Khan's lawful conduct.

"The access of his legal team and media presence was refused to almost none. His fundamental right to access to justice and fair trial has been hampered by the respondents [state]," the plea said.

It stated that while he was en route Islamabad, the Punjab Police stormed his Zaman Park residence in Lahore, while the "doors and walls have been raised to the ground".

The police have arrested around 60 PTI workers — four days after they battled at the same place when the police had arrived to arrest the former prime minister in the Toshakhana case.

In the prevailing circumstances, Khan told the court that he has "firm reasons" to believe that the state in order to take revenge on him is "hell-bent to compromise the liberty of the petitioner in the most unlawful manner".

The PTI chief prayed to the IHC to immediately stop authorities from "acting illegally and be restrained from illegally arresting" him "in any case or inquiry or investigation before any law enforcement agency, including the National Accountability Bureau without the permission" of this court.

The legal proceedings against Khan began soon after he was ousted from Prime Minister's Office in a parliamentary vote early last year. Since then, he has been demanding a snap election and holding nationwide protests, and was shot and wounded in one of those rallies in Wazirabad on November 3.

Incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has rejected Khan's demands, saying the election would be held as scheduled later this year.