In a big relief to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday awarded him an extension in interim bail in nine cases.
The former prime minister appeared before the IHC today amidst tight security on the directions of the two-member bench — headed by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq.
On April 18, the IHC extended Khan's bail in eight cases till May 3. A day earlier, he failed to appear before the court. Hearing his bail plea in nine cases, the IHC had granted him a day’s time to appear in court, warning him his bail pleas would be dismissed if he failed to do so.
At the outset of the hearing, Khan's lawyer Barrister Safdar maintained that 140 cases had been registered against the PTI chief so far and the petitioner had sought bail in all the cases in his knowledge.
While extending Khan's interim bail in seven terror cases for 10 days, the court directed Khan to approach the trial court.
CJ Farooq remarked that a medical report from a government hospital should be submitted to seek an extension in future and ordered to provide material on the plea seeking permission to appear through a video link.
Meanwhile, the court also extended Khan's interim bail in two other cases related to threatening officers of the armed forces and the attempted murder of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, till May 9.
Moreover, the IHC CJ also ordered fixing Khan's plea for staying the action on cases against Khan on May 9.
At one point during the hearing, the PTI chief came to the rostrum and revealed that he has informed the five-member bench at Lahore High Court about the person who can harm him.
“If I take his name, none of the newspapers will publish that,” he said, accusing the person of running the caretaker government.
In an informal conversation after the two-member bench left the courtroom, Khan replied to a journalist’s question regarding meetings with American diplomats. “We want good relations with everybody,” he said.
His remarks came days after PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry met US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome.
Khan, in a lighter yet sarcastic tone, said that the number of cases registered against him will soon hit a double century.
“In cricket I only managed to score 170; however, in politics I’ll score a double century,” Khan lamented.
Taking a jibe at the former chief of army staff General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, Khan revealed: “During several briefings, Bajwa said that there is no oil in tanks.”
“I was surprised that what kind of an army chief is he who is talking about such things,” he said.
During the conversation, he also condemned Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s trip to India.
In response to a question regarding the rifts among the puisnes, Khan said the reference against Justice Qazi Faiz Isa was initiated from people in positions above General (retd) Faiz Hamid.
“We were told that the law is equal for everybody, therefore we also gave answers,” he said, adding that they [the PTI] were told the answers need to be taken from Qazi Faez Isa.
“Later we realised that there was some other intention behind all this,” he added.
Earlier today, the PTI chief said he would appear before the court despite "pain and swelling" in his leg because he "respects the court".
Sitting in a wheelchair to be moved to the car before leaving for Islamabad, Khan — in a brief video statement released on social media — said: "[We] respect the courts, so will appear [before the court] despite pain and swelling in the leg."
The PTI chief further added that he was not like "those who create propaganda against the judges" if they don't get a favourable decision.
In the statement, Khan also claimed that he had informed the Lahore High Court (LHC) that a bid was made to assassinate him.
"Once in Wazirabad and the second time in the Judicial Complex on March 18," he added.
Khan appeared before a two-member bench which had warned the former prime minister, of bail revocation over his continuous absence from court, on the previous hearing.
Ahead of his visit to the federal capital, security around the court was tightened and a heavy contingent of police was deployed. Barbed wires and containers were also placed to ensure law and order in the area.
The police also banned the entry of unrelated persons into the IHC.
To ensure Khan's safety, the district administration has made strict security arrangements, while the lawyers and journalists will be allowed to enter courtroom no 1 through a special pass.
Only 15 lawyers will be allowed to accompany Khan inside the court and 10 lawyers from the attorney general and advocate general's office will be allowed to attend the hearing.
Furthermore, in his video, the PTI chief urged people to take to the streets in a show of solidarity with Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial.
"The mafia is hell-bent against the chief justice," he said, adding that "the mafia" had divided the Supreme Court (SC) and had been flouting the Constitution.
He also slammed the incumbent government for "running from the elections" which were supposed to be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the assemblies.
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