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ISLAMABAD: After day-long clashes between police and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers outside the Federal Judicial Complex, a local court on Saturday cancelled PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s non-bailable arrest warrants in the Toshakhana case with a directive to appear before it on March 30.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ), Zafar Iqbal, while hearing the case, cancelled the non-bailable arrest warrants and adjourned the hearing till March 30.

At the start of the hearing without the PTI chairman, the judge said that no one should be under the impression that the matter has been put to rest if the time had passed by 3:30pm.

“I am here if someone wants to appear before the court,” he said.

To this, the counsel for PTI chief, Khawaja Harris contended that his client is being stopped by security on his way to the court as he is already at the gate of the court.

Toshakhana case: Court suspends Imran Khan's non-bailable arrest warrant

“Intense shelling is being done by the police,” he said. On this, the judge said that he was ready to wait.

The counsel for Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Amjad Parvez informed the court that he did not know what was going on outside the court.

“Has security actually stopped Imran outside or has he stopped there himself,” he said, adding, “They know court hours began at 8:30am”.

The court took a break till Imran Khan arrived inside the courtroom.

Meanwhile, the effects of teargas shelling outside the court on Imran’s convoy started reaching the courtroom.

As the hearing resumed, the ex-premier’s legal team submitted a plea on his behalf in court stating that Imran Khan was present outside the judicial complex.

“He is waiting outside the court for the last one hour,” it said, adding the police were shelling at him and preventing him to enter the court.

“Send your staff outside to accept my appearance,” Imran stated in the plea, adding, “I would request the court to send the Islamabad police a contempt of court notice”.

At this, Judge Iqbal said that “since you have submitted a plea, I can send a court official outside.”

“Go outside and bring Imran Khan inside the premises along with his car,” the judge told a court official. “Tell the police to let the accused come inside according to the SOPs (standard operating procedures)”.

During all this, a teargas shell hit a window of the courtroom. In order to reduce the effects of the teargas, the courtroom’s door was closed. Later, the judge told the ECP lawyer that the hearing should take place. “But what should we do if the situation is like this,” the judge asked.

At this, PTI lawyer Babar Awan contended that the court should send an official outside to record Imran Khan’s attendance.

He requested the court to exempt the PTI chairman from appearing before the court today, adding “the hearing should be adjourned in light of the situation that has arisen”.

During the proceedings, a PTI worker barged into the courtroom.

“I’ve been coordinating with the party the moment we left from Lahore,” he said. “They (PTI workers) were pelted stones and they (police) started beating me up”. Awan told the court that the situation was “messy” outside. “Take my word, give an exemption today”.

With this, the court ordered to take Imran Khan’s signature at the gate.

“Take his signatures at the gate, His attendance will be marked,” Judge Iqbal said. “Today the hearing is actually not possible.”

“Leave everything, I’ll do something about the date,” he added. “Let the signatures be done, then we can discuss further.”

The judge further stated to take Imran Khan’s signatures and ask him to leave.

As the hearing resumed again, the judge asked Khawaja Harris about his views on Imran Khan’s “indictment”.

“Would you like to present your arguments today,” he said. At this, Harris said: “No sir, it is not possible today,” adding that “there will be arguments on the admissibility of the application before indictment.”

He further said that “a decision will be taken after the application is heard.”

The hearing was adjourned for the third time till the court received Imran Khan’s signatures.

Amid the situation, lawyer Intezar Panjotha informed the court that Imran Khan’s chief of staff Shibli Faraz was “manhandled” by Nausherwan, superintendent of police (SP). Faraz was subsequently presented in court and released after the judge ordered the police to do so.

After a while, SP Dr Sami Malik accompanied Faraz with the court file back to the courtroom.

As the hearing resumed again, ADSJ Iqbal asked, “Did the order sheet not return back?”

At this, SP Malik said that Faraz had the order sheet.

Taking the rostrum, Barrister Gohar told the court that he went along with the SP and Faraz.

“I took the signatures from Imran Khan,” he said. “On our way back police started shelling at us and SP Malik took the file from me.”

“SP Malik is lying to the court right now,” Barrister Gohar said. “A video of the entire incident is available”.

SP Malik told the court that when they went to get the signatures, shelling, and stone pelting had started. “I even gave my handkerchief to Shibli Faraz”.

Deeming the court documents as “very important”, Judge Iqbal told SP Malik to go find them and bring them the court.

“They are a part of our judicial record,” the judge said. At this, SP Malik told the judge that he gave the file to Faraz and not him.

Barrister Gohar told the court that many people made a video of Imran Khan signing all the documents. When the hearing resumed again, SP Malik told the court that he went with Faraz despite being injured and the file went missing.

“Just leave it,” the judge remarked. “Tell me if the signatures were recorded”.

SP Malik replied saying he did not know if the documents were signed or not.

Advocate Harris intervened asking the court to record SP Malik’s statement. “He thinks his job is permanent. He has changed his statements thrice”.

SP Malik asked, “Why would I lose the file intentionally.” At this, Barrister Gohar said: “They had everything recorded on a video”.

“Everyone chanted PTI slogans when the documents were signed,” he added. “Khan Sahib had signed on all the documents”.

Consequently, the court directed SP Malik and Barrister Gohar to submit their written statements to the court.

“You both write down your statements and submit them to court”, Judge Iqbal said. “I will find a solution about the lost court documents,” he added.

ADSJ Iqbal then adjourned the hearing till March 30 with directives to the PTI chief to appear before the court on March 30 in his personal capacity again.

Meanwhile, the day’s events were marred by clashes between the police and the PTI workers.

The Islamabad police alleged that party workers had shelled the Judicial Complex and set fire to a police post.

It also shared footage of PTI workers allegedly committing vandalism at the Judicial Complex.

Later, it said that PTI protesters had set fire to a police vehicle.

The police said nine officers were injured from pelting by PTI supporters while over 25 motorcycles were set alight.

It added that a police post and trees were also set ablaze and police forces were attacked with petrol bombs and tear gas shells.

Meanwhile, the police kept throwing teargas shells at Imran Khan’s vehicle.

When the convoy of PTI chief took left turn towards the service road which goes to the Judicial Complex from Srinagar Highway, the police started heavy teargas shelling to disperse PTI supporters who had gathered outside the area covered by ICT administration through shipping containers.

The distance from the highway to the court is hardly a few minutes’ drive but it took almost an hour for the Khan’s convoy to reach the main gate due to intense shelling and stone pelting from PTI supporters which included men, women, elderly, and youth.

About 4,000 security personnel including FC, Rangers, Punjab and Islamabad Police were deployed.

PTI leaders, Ali Zaidi, Asad Qaiser, Murad Saeed, Zulfi Bukhari, Qasim Suri, and others, kept guarding the vehicle of Khan as he kept waiting at the gate of the court surrounded by a large number of his supporters.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


1000 characters
Jim Mar 19, 2023 06:49am
Psychopaths in power are pushing country to a very bloody civil war!
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
A. Tahir Mar 19, 2023 08:44am
Generals are pushing Pakistan towards an Un-viable state!
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
John Mar 19, 2023 01:22pm
@A. Tahir, Indeed, compromised Generals are causing irreversible damage to country.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Manzoor Mar 19, 2023 01:44pm
@A. Tahir, Desperate attempt by Generals to save their skins...where in the world will they escape to...Pakistanis are all over the globe!
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply

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