ISLAMABAD: A local court Thursday dismissed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former premier Imran Khan’s petition and upheld the non-bailable arrest warrant issued for him in the Toshakhana case.
Additional Sessions judge Zafar Iqbal, while announcing the reserved verdict on the plea seeking the suspension of non-bailable arrest warrants, rejected Khan’s petition and directed police to arrest the former premier and produced him before the court on March 18.
According to the written orders of the court, it is provided in section 75(2) CrPC that every warrant shall remain in force unless it is cancelled by the court t issues it or until it is executed. Non-bailable warrant of arrest is an order of a court that directs the law enforcement officer to arrest a person and bring him/her before the court, it says, adding that it is issued against a person who fails to appear in the court despite the order of the court. The order says the warrant of arrest may be cancelled on his/her appearance.
The order further says that the resident of a house is bound to allow a police officer’s free ingress for the arrest of the accused. Police may use all means necessary to affect the arrest as per section 46CrPC, the order says.
The order says that it is worth mentioning here that there is no concept of review of the order in the criminal administration of justice. It is also noteworthy that the applicant challenged the order dated March 6 and March 13 of this court before the Islamabad High Court (IHC), whereby, a non-bailable warrant of arrest of the applicant was issued and the IHC categorically held that there was no illegality in the orders.
It says that the IHC has left it to the discretion of this court to decide the application keeping in view all aspects and law. The applicant has prayed that in view of the undertaking given by him and the sureties offered by him to the satisfaction of this court, the order dated March 13 may kindly be recalled and suspend the warrant of arrest.
“Keeping in view the law and order situation created by the applicant, he has lost some of the normal rights granted by procedural as well as substantive laws and he has to actually surrender before the court due to his defiance of the court process”, it says, adding that such eventuality is never appreciated by the court and it is regarded as willful default.
The order says that the law is equal for powerful and weak segments of society and it is not fun to tender such an undertaking after causing great loss to the public exchequer as well as damage to persons and properties. Keeping in view post order development of issuance of a non-bailable warrant of arrest and the act and conduct of the applicant the warrant may not be cancelled just on the basis of his undertaking. In the light of above discussion, it is concluded that the application is not justified by law as well as fact which hereby is rejected.
At the start of the hearing, Khan’s lawyer Khawaja Haris read out the IHC’s verdict regarding the PTI’s chief plea against the arrest warrant issued for Khan. The judge told Haris that the court has so far not received the IHC’s order through the official process.
The judge told Khan’s counsel that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should also be issued a notice regarding the maintainability of the application. Haris told the court should issue a notice to ECP and summon the commission today.
The judge said that the issue can be solved within one second. Where is Imran Khan, he asked, adding that in which court Khan had appeared in person.
Haris said that is it necessary to arrest Khan. To this, the judge said that we want that Khan comes to court. Why Khan is not coming to court? What are the reasons? The judge questioned.
The judge remarked that we will look into your application after going through the IHC’s order. Where is the concept of the undertaking written? The judge asked.
Haris replied that the concept of the undertaking is present in Section 76. In Section 76, the concept of the undertaking is written about the bailable arrest warrant and not regarding non-bailable arrest warrant, the judge said.
The judge said that the IHC also wrote in the order that the order of the court should not be influenced by an illegal action. “If the warrant issued for Khan were bailable arrest then there would be no issue but the warrants issued for Khan are non-bailable,” the judge said, adding that the arguments you have presented is about bailable arrest warrants.
The judge said that the arrest warrant has been issued for Khan to appear in person before the court. To this, Haris said that Khan himself is saying that I want to come to court. “Khan is not requesting to grant him exemption and wanted to come to court”, he said. Is the issuance of a non-bailable arrest warrant mandatory at this time? Haris asked.
He said that the court has two options. The first option is to accept the undertaking application and suspend a non-bailable arrest warrant, and the second option is to accept the surety and issue a bailable arrest warrant. Haris requested to suspend the arrest warrants and said that Khan wants to give an undertaking to the court that he will appear in the session court on March 18.
The judge remarked that it is very unfortunate that in a poor country, millions of rupees have been spent on the implementation of an arrest warrant. If your client stated that he is going to court then the issue ends there, the judge told Haris.
He said that if your client surrender himself to the authorities then now he directs the IGP to not arrest him. “Sir! what I am saying is that both sides are on the mistake,” Haris said, adding that the whole Punjab police has been called for an attack on his client Zaman Park residence.
The judge said that warrant can be cancelled if you present solid reasons. The mistake has not been from both sides, he said, adding that one side has offered resistance.
Haris said that Khan wants to appear before the court but what is the need for his arrest for this? IHC has brought out midway. The IHC has brought out a midway and forwarded the case to you, he said.
The judge remarked that this is the world’s most expensive warrant. Should it have happened?
Haris replied that it was the fault of the government. I condemned it in his personal capacity and it should not have happened.
Haris pleaded to the court that his client is submitting an undertaking and therefore, the court should suspend his arrest warrant. The judge remarked that the warrant was issued as per law then why he offered resistance? Haris said that after the submission of the undertaking, there is no need for the issuance of an arrest warrant.
The judge said in criminal cases, suspects appear before the court and once they appear, the non-bailable arrest warrants are suspended. “The police cannot sit idle when arrest warrants are issued for March 18”, the judge said. The court adjourned the hearing for some time and summoned counsel of the ECP and the applicant. After the resumption of the hearing, the ECP lawyer, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Akbar Nasir Khan, and law officer Tahir Kazim appeared before the court.
Kazim told the court that the investigation officer (IO) in the case was in Lahore and the ECP’s counsel will appear at 2:30pm before the court.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023