- Judge Zafar Iqbal says court will stop Islamabad police from arresting Imran if he surrenders in court
An Islamabad District and Sessions Court on Thursday rejected a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for nullification of arrest warrants of party chairman Imran Khan in Toshakhana case.
Earlier, Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal had reserved the verdict in the case.
Earlier on Thursday, Additional District and Sessions court said that it would stop the Islamabad police from arresting Imran if the former PM surrendered in court, Aaj News reported.
Iqbal conducted the hearing of a plea by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking criminal proceedings against Imran for concealing details of Toshakhana gifts.
The same court had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against the PTI leader on March 13 after he failed to appear in the Toshakhana case hearing and instructed police to present Imran in court by March 18.
During the hearing today, the PTI chief’s lawyer Khawaja Harris read out the Islamabad High Court’s order on the party’s petition against the arrest warrants.
The judge said that the trial court has not received the IHC’s order through the official process.
The judge also inquired about the PTI chairman. Harris asked the judge whether it was important for his client to appear before the court in person. He also said that the court had two options, accept the undertaking and cancel the non-bailable arrest warrant or take a surety and issue a bailable arrest warrants.
Judge Iqbal said that he would stop the Islamabad police from arresting Imran if he surrendered in court.
The hearing was subsequently adjourned till 12pm.
On Wednesday, law enforcement personnel began retreating from the former prime minister’s residence without arresting him.
Later, the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered police to suspend the operation outside Zaman Park till 10am on Thursday (today).
The court had asked the Chief Secretary Punjab, Inspector General of police and Deputy Inspector General (operation) Islamabad police to appear before the court at 3.00 pm the same day in a petition of PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry against a police operation outside the residence of PTI Chief.
The petitioner’s counsel contended before the court that the police was thrashing the PTI workers brutally and violating all the fundament rights enshrined in the constitution.
He said the police is stationed for last many hours and residential area has become a war zone.
A law officer opposing the plea said the matter pertaining to the bail of Imran Khan was pending with the IHC hence the petition could not be heard at the LHC principal seat.
The court inquired about the Islamabad police official who was heading the operation to arrest Imran Khan.
The Punjab Police chief told the court at first 14 police officials were injured during the clashes with PTI workers and they deployed more officials for operation.
Later, 60 more policemen sustained injuries during the operation and added they had decided not to use any weapon during the operation.
We controlled the situation with the help of tear gas and water cannons, he added.
On Tuesday, armoured police vehicles arrived outside Khan’s residence with the intention of arresting Imran in the Toshakh but Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Shahzad Bukhari refrained from commenting on the arrest warrant issued by the sessions court Islamabad in the Toshakhana case.
PTI workers clashed with law enforcement that retaliated with baton charging, water cannons and tear gas shelling. Protesters hurled stones on police and attacked them with sticks.
Anti-riots police arrested a few PTI workers.
While Imran’s arrest was not yet made till late on Tuesday night, multiple cities had erupted with protests as party supporters gathered in droves to condemn the police operation against Imran.