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Sunday April 21, 2024

LHC orders LEAs not to ‘harass’ Imran

Court hears PTI chief's plea seeking details of cases registered against him and possibility of police operation at Zaman Park

By Numan Wahab
April 19, 2023
PTI Chairman Imran Khan appeared at the Lahore High Court for hearing of his plea with his legal team on April 18, 2023. — Twitter/@PTIofficial
PTI Chairman Imran Khan appeared at the Lahore High Court for hearing of his plea with his legal team on April 18, 2023. — Twitter/@PTIofficial

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, seeking to prevent law enforcement agencies from conducting a potential operation at his Zaman Park residence and attempting to arrest him during the Eid holidays.

However, the court ordered the relevant authorities to refrain from harassing Imran Khan.

A five-member bench, headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, heard Imran’s plea. Previously, a division bench had referred the matter to the LHC chief justice, suggesting the formation of a larger bench.

During the hearing, Imran Khan appeared along with his counsel Barrister Salman Safdar. The counsel argued that his client’s basic fundamental rights were being violated as he had obtained bail in false and politically motivated cases for the past three months.

The counsel requested relief from the court only for the duration of Eid holidays and asked the court to direct the authorities not to launch any operation at Zaman Park, as the courts would not be functioning during the Eid holidays.

However, Justice Najafi remarked that the court’s doors were open even during the Eid holidays.

On the other hand, the Punjab government law officer argued that the PTI chairman’s petition was based on speculation and was not admissible. He said that law enforcement agencies work according to the law and cannot be prevented from performing their duties.

No plan had been formulated, as suggested by the PTI chairman, the law officer said.

Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh, a bench member, asked the law officer if he could ensure that no coercive measures would be taken in cases already registered against the petitioner.

Justice Najfi asked the law officer if the authorities would allow the petitioner to celebrate Eid at his home.

The law officer replied that a Joint Investigation Team had been formed and would proceed according to the law if any evidence surfaced. He further argued that no provision in the Constitution barred an ongoing investigation.

The police have yet to arrest the PTI chief, but he is demanding that police officials be restrained from doing so, the law officer said.

After repeated arguments, Justice Amjad Rafique remarked that the Constitution also suggested the suspension of investigation in cases where there was no doubt of the accused fleeing from the authorities.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan addressed the court, stating that the nation knew him for 50 years and that he had “never violated the Constitution.” He said that Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh had previously restrained the relevant authorities from taking any coercive measures, but everyone saw what happened at Zaman Park.

He said that he had submitted surety bonds and went to Islamabad, but the police attacked Zaman Park, and he was forcefully restrained from appearing before the relevant court in Islamabad.

The court reserved the verdict for a while after hearing arguments and then announced that the authorities concerned should not harass Imran Khan. However, the court rejected Imran Khan’s request to prevent law enforcement agencies from launching a potential operation at his Zaman Park residence.