Thursday July 18, 2024

Imran Khan gets relief from Islamabad court in vandalism cases

Judicial magistrate acquits former premier in cases registered at Islamabad's Lohi Bhair, Sahala police stations

By Arfa Feroz Zake
March 19, 2024
Former prime minister Imran Khan (centre) leaves after appearing at a court in Islamabad on February 28, 2023. — AFP
Former prime minister Imran Khan (centre) leaves after appearing at a court in Islamabad on February 28, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: A district and sessions court in Islamabad Tuesday acquitted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan in two different cases pertaining to the vandalism during the March 2022 long march. 

Judicial Magistrate Shaista Kundi accepted Khan's petitions and exonerated him in the cases registered at Islamabad's Lohi Bhair and Sahala police stations.

Earlier, at the outset of the hearing, Khan's lawyer, Advocate Naeem Panjotha said that several cases were registered in a single day framing PTI's founder. 

He added that neither a notification was issued nor the party was informed regarding the enforcement of Section 144. 

The lawyer contended that the plaintiff of the case is a station house officer (SHO), who has no jurisdiction to register the case.

"There are no witness statements in the cases filed against the PTI founder," he argued.

At this, the judicial magistrate asked the counsel if Khan had been acquitted in cases before, responding to which the lawyer said: "PTI founder had been acquitted in several cases even earlier."

At this point, the court reserved a verdict on Khan's plea, which was later announced. 

Khan, the only prime minister to be voted out of his office, is currently imprisoned in the Rawalpidi prison in Adiala, as he serves several sentences in the Toshakhana, un-Islamic marriage, and the cipher cases.

However, the Punjab government has banned any meetings with the ex-PM due to security threats. 

It may be noted that a failed assassination attempt was also made on Khan's life in November 2022 when he was leading an anti-government rally in Wazirabad. He sustained bullet injuries in his leg.

Courts rejects production plea

Earlier, Panjotha also filed a petition in the court regarding the production of his client for the hearing.

The court, however, rejected the plea citing security concerns.

"Who will be responsible if something happens on the way while bringing PTI founder to court?" the judicial magistrate remarked.

The lawyer argued that Khan has been appearing at the court on his own earlier too.

"It is the government's job to provide security," he said, adding that PTI founder's legal team wanted to give their arguments in his presence.

"Attendance on bail would have been necessary," the judicial magistrate maintained, rejecting the plea.