Monday March 27, 2023

Imran shuns courts, takes out rally

"I will hold a jalsa at Minar-e-Pakistan on Sunday [March 19] at 2pm. We all have to struggle together," PTI chief says

By Faizan Bangash & News Desk
March 14, 2023
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses party workers at Data Darbar in Lahore on March 13, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — Twitter/@PTIOfficial
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses party workers at Data Darbar in Lahore on March 13, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — Twitter/@PTIOfficial

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Desperate to put him behind bars, a police party from Islamabad flew by helicopter to Lahore to arrest Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the ‘judge threatening case’ after a district and sessions court issued his non-bailable arrest warrants for failing to attend the hearing.

Imran did not appear in the judge-threatening case and Toshakhana case. However, he took out a party rally in Lahore. Earlier, Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim released the three-page reserved verdict.

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 court in its verdict said it had granted several opportunities to Imran for appearance in his personal capacity and every time he requested for exemption.

It cited that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had also declared the non-appearance of the accused on the excuse of security as irrelevant and ordered him to appear before the court on March 13.

The court observed that the exemption request from appearance in a personal capacity was inappropriate and due to which the court was issuing non-bailable arrest warrants of Imran Khan. It said that it would also serve notices to respondents on March 29, in the PTI chief’’s acquittal plea.

At the outset of the hearing, the judge remarked that the court had summoned the accused to share copies of the case documents and he had to appear in person so that the trial could proceed.

Islamabad police team arrived to take Imran in custody as he geared up to spearhead a massive election rally. The police said they would need a sizable backup to pick up Imran and take him to Islamabad, according to sources.

The former prime minister once again skipped the hearing. Instead, he filed a plea for an exemption from physically appearing before the judge, requesting permission for joining the court proceedings virtually via video link.

Earlier, the sessions court had rejected the PTI chief’s plea by saying “if Imran did not appear in court today [Monday], a non-bailable arrest warrant against him would be issued.” After that, the court briefly adjourned the hearing till 12:30pm and later resumed it. A case has been registered against the PTI chief at Islamabad’s Margalla Police Station for hurling threatening remarks at judge Zeba Chaudhry.

Meanwhile, sources told Geo News that the Islamabad police will visit Zaman Park in the on Tuesday to arrest Imran. 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 Imran.

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

“Before Islamabad police leave for Zaman Park, they will contact Imran’s chief security officer,” the sources added. Separately, another court in the federal capital ordered the police to arrest Imran in the Toshakhana case once again over his non-appearance.

During Monday’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.

In the evening, Imran addressed a public rally at some distance from Data Darbar and announced a public meeting at Minar-e-Pakistan on Sunday (March 19), Imran Khan said that like in Toshakhana, PMLN and PPP leaders will also be exposed if the foreign funding case details come to surface.

He said Zille Shah’s brutal murder would not go unnoticed. “Neither I will forget his murder nor this nation. I am conveying this message from the nation that the police personnel involved in this crime will not be spared, it is not my personal war, I am fighting for you,” he said. Sitting inside a vehicle, he said: “My life is under threat but I will come out, nobody puts his life in danger for personal interests.” He went on to say that efforts had been made to disqualify him to put him out of election race. However, Allah Almighty is Haq (Truth) and the details of Toshahana case have unveiled everything. The details of the Foreign Funding case would expose the PMLN and the PPP as the nation would come to know as to how the PTI had collected money and how these two had been raising funds. As many as 80 cases have been made against him whereas his party men are also being targeted, through litigation as well as character assassination. Every attempt has been made against him. He said next Sunday, he would address a public meeting at Minar-e-Pakistan which would be his six in last 12 years.