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LHC directs Imran to join probe in all cases

Imran tells court third assassination plot hatched against him

By Numan Wahab
May 03, 2023
A file photo of the Lahore High Court. — AFP
A file photo of the Lahore High Court. — AFP

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan to join the investigation in all the 121 cases registered against him.

The court directed Imran Khan’s counsel to deliberate with the authorities to decide whether his client would appear before the investigation team or if the team would visit Zaman Park to record the statement of Imran Khan. The court refused to grant interim relief to the PTI chief in a petition seeking a restraining order against the registration of new cases against him. The court has also directed the Punjab government to submit a report after completing the investigations by May 8.

A three-member bench of the High Court comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh and Justice Aalia Neelum heard the plea challenging the registration of cases against Imran Khan. The Federation of Pakistan, Punjab province, Punjab Inspector General of Police Dr Usman Anwar and other provincial as well as federal authorities were made respondents by the plaintiff.

As the hearing commenced on Tuesday, Imran’s counsel contended that there was no case against Imran Khan during his 71 years of life.

At this, the court asked why the cases were being filed after the change of the government, adding, “They [the petitioner] are claiming that the cases were being registered to keep [him] away from the elections.”

Responding to the court’s query, the lawyer representing the Punjab government said the PTI chief was seeking additional relief as former premier.

Justice Baqir inquired about the cases against Imran Khan and their status. At this, the Punjab government counsel argued that Khan didn’t join the investigations in any case.

To this, Justice Neelum sought a guarantee from Khan’s lawyer that he would join the probe. She said that the court was giving the petitioner time to join the probe in all the cases.

Justice Sheikh remarked that an appearance before the investigation officer (IO) was a must. Khan’s lawyer assured that they would join the investigation in all cases while requesting the court to allow appearance via video link. Khan’s counsel assured the court that they were ready to work under the laws and Code of Criminal Procedure.

At this point, PTI chief Imran Khan requested the court to allow him to speak for a few minutes. “I am not running away from the cases but I should have less exposure,” he said and added that he was facing threats to his life. “I had earlier revealed that there would be an assassination attempt on my life and everyone saw what happened in Wazirabad,” he maintained. Imran claimed that a second attack was to be carried out against him at the Islamabad Judicial Complex but luckily he remained safe. “I want to bring this to the notice of the court that a fresh assassination plan has been hatched against me,” claimed Imran.

He said that his life was under threat from those responsible of providing him security. Justice Baqir asked him to trust the court. The court said that the petitioner could move the court for seeking security. After this, Imran assured the court to follow its instructions. Later, the court was adjourned till May 8.

Meanwhile, a case related to the ban on Imran’s speeches was also adjourned for the same date. As many as 121 cases are registered against Imran Khan across the country, including 14 cases in Islamabad, 31 in Lahore and 30 in Faisalabad. In addition, Imran Khan has been nominated in four cases in Bhakkar, 3 in Sheikhupura, 2 in Gujranwala, 3 in Jhelum, 4 in Attock, 10 in Rawalpindi and 5 in Bahawalpur.