Friday September 29, 2023

Non-bailable arrest warrant for Imran in Toshakhana case

"If Imran Khan is appearing in other courts, then why not in this court?” a judge remarked

By Ahmed Subhan & By Khalid Iqbal & News Desk
March 01, 2023
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. — AFP
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan Tuesday secured interim bail in attempted murder, terrorism and prohibited funding cases, while a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued for him in the Toshakhana case by the district and sessions court.

Imran had to appear in the banking and anti-terrorism courts located at the Judicial Complex in the prohibited funding and terrorism cases and Toshakhana and attempted murder cases in the district and sessions court at the Kutchery.

The PTI chairman first arrived at the Judicial Complex, which houses the banking court as well as the anti-terrorism court (ATC).

In the Toshakhana case, Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal Tuesday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Imran for his continued non-appearance in the court despite the issuance of summons.

Imran’s counsel Ali Bukhari and the Election Commission’s lawyer appeared in the court.

Bukhari requested the judge to adjourn the hearing for five days, as his counsel could not appear in court. The Election Commission’s lawyer opposed the adjournment and said it was not the court’s problem where Imran Khan was coming from.

“The case is already before the court — we are ready to hear it every day. If Imran Khan is appearing in other courts, then why not in this court?” the judge remarked.

Bukhari said he was unable to present Imran in court. “If Imran comes out of the Judicial Compound during court time, we will appear,” said Bukhari.

“If you appear in the Judicial Complex, then there will be no time for it. They have to be charged here. Come to the court. After the court frames the charge, he can leave,” the judge remarked.

Bukhari told the judge that Khawaja Haris was Imran’s lawyer in the case but he was not available for the district court on that day.

Bukhari and the Election Commission lawyer had a bitter exchange of words.

Reprimanding the ECP lawyer, Bukhari said, “You are a lawyer of the Election Commission. Be a lawyer; do not become a spokesperson.”

The court adjourned the hearing until 12 o’clock.

Later, when the hearing resumed, ECP lawyer Saad Hasan and Khan’s lawyer Barrister Gohar Ali Khan appeared in the court.

The judge said if Imran Khan’s warrant was issued, then he will have to appear in court. The lawyer said his client could not come due to the security risk.

The court rejected the counsel’s plea for immunity and issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Imran Khan for his continued non-appearance. The hearing was adjourned till March 7.

In the attempted murder case filed by the PMLN leader Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, Justice Aamer Farooq of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) approved Imran’s interim bail on submitting surety bonds of Rs100,000 till March 9. Ranjha had filed the case against Imran with the Secretariat Police Station in October last year. He approached the police after being attacked outside the office of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad, where PTI workers and supporters were protesting against the ECP’s verdict, which disqualified Imran in the Toshakhana case.

In the terrorism case filed against Imran in Oct 2022 by the Sangjani police, ATC Judge Raja Jawad Abbas approved Imran’s interim bail till March 9. The case pertains to a violent protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after the PTI workers took to the streets outside the ECP offices across the country following Imran’s disqualification in the Toshakhana reference.

In the prohibited funding case, Judge Rakhshanda Shaheen confirmed Imran Khan’s bail. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on October 2022 booked the PTI chief for allegedly receiving prohibited funding. The ECP, in a unanimous verdict on August 2022, had announced that the PTI had received prohibited funding.

The case was earlier referred to as the “foreign funding” case, but later the election commission accepted the PTI’s plea to refer to it as the “prohibited funding” case.

Meanwhile, the police Tuesday registered a terrorism case for vandalism, riot, and sabotage at the Judicial Complex during PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s appearance before different courts. Security arrangements at the judicial complex Sector G-11 were disrupted as PTI workers removed all barriers. Some of them vandalised the building and undermined the decorum of the courts. According to a spokesperson for the ICT police, the case has been registered under Section 7 of the Anti-terrorism Act (ATA) and other charges on the behalf of the state.

Taking to Twitter, the spokesperson said that at least 25 people have been arrested so far, adding that a Kalashnikov and other weapons have been recovered. Under a premeditated plan, the mob attempted to attack the high court and judicial complex, the spokesperson added. Police teams have been sent to different provinces to arrest the people involved in the incident.

The spokesperson maintained that leaders of a “political party” were leading the mob, adding that they provoked the people which led to vandalism.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the government would take action against the perpetrators. In a press conference alongside Azma Bukhari and Talal Chaudhry, the minister said that the culprits would be booked and arrested on terror charges.

Sanaullah said: “The banking court, which is situated in the judicial complex, was stormed by around 400 ‘worker-like goons’ who were with them. They attacked the policemen on duty by pushing them and ripping their uniforms apart and caused damage to the building by breaking its glass.”

He added that despite the riots, Imran Khan was still granted bail. However, the minister said that the government would take strict legal action against the goons.

Sanaullah said that the ‘pampering behaviour’ of courts encouraged hostility among Imran’s supporters. “The event that took place today, in which the judicial complex and the judiciary were attacked, only happened because they are receiving a mild treatment.”