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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared that Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan’s arrest on the court’s premises “legal”.

A single bench of Chief Justice Aamer Farooq Tuesday on Tuesday after hearing the counsels had reserved the order, which was announced late at night.

The court also issued notices to the secretary interior and the inspector-general of Islamabad police over contempt of court. The court also issued instructions to the registrar to lodge an FIR, and to submit a report on the inquiry by May 16.

IHC extends Imran Khan’s bail in multiple cases

A heavy contingent of Rangers arrested the PTI chief on the IHC premises when he came to the court to seek bail in multiple FIRs registered against him. Earlier in the day, the chief justice had taken notice of Imran’s arrest and directed the Islamabad police chief, the Secretary Ministry of interior and the additional attorney general to appear before it within 15 minutes. The court also issued direction to the Additional Attorney General to appear before the court and inform the court who was behind the PTI chief’s arrest.

Justice Aamer said that he was showing “restraint” and warned that he would “summon” the prime minister if the Islamabad police chief did not appear before the court.

When the hearing resumed, the Islamabad IG appeared before the court along with the additional attorney general and the secretary interior. Expressing anger over the delay, the CJ IHC said the court had directed them to appear in court within 15 minutes “but you came after 45 minutes.”

The Islamabad IG replied that he had found out about Imran’s arrest from the media. He said that the PTI chairman has been arrested in the Al-Qadir University land scam, and submitted the PTI chief’s arrest warrant.

Justice Farooq observed that as far as he knew and from what the court staff said, Imran was not arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). He added, “I will issue an appropriate order if the arrest was in violation of the law.”

Barrister Gohar Khan who was present at the time of the arrest, informed the court that he was with Imran when he was taken into custody by Rangers. He added that they were trying to arrest the PTI chief even before he entered the biometric room and the Rangers personnel broke down the windows and used pepper spray.

He continued that they hit Imran Khan with a rod and then went on to say that he was ready to record his statement with the court in this regard. He maintained, “I have seen all this from my own eyes.” He said; “They also hit his injured leg and they have violated judicial independence and fundamental rights.”

PTI lawyer Khawaja Haris said that justice is every citizen’s right. He said that today’s arrest is nothing less than an attack on judicial independence. He argued that the law did not allow the NAB to arrest a person while an inquiry was still underway.

Advocate Ali Bukhari, another PTI lawyer, contended that he was in the room where Imran Khan was brought for biometrics. He said the Rangers told us to open the doors but the police objected. He further said that then Rangers personnel broke open the windows and entered the room. Ali said that the Rangers “tortured” everyone who was present in the room and they also beat up and dragged Khan out of the room.

At one point, the IHC Chief Justice stated that the court had exercised “restraint” throughout the matter and remarked that his patience must not be tested. He stated that he never knew that the accountability watchdog could carry out an arrest in such a manner. He asked: is this not an attack on judicial independence? “Is this arrest not illegal? Everything is in front of you, lawyers have been attacked, my court has been attacked and I have been attacked.”

Meanwhile, IG Nasir told the court that he was not aware of the details of arrest, to which Justice Farooq said that the entire incident had been narrated by the lawyers. The IG said that if the court gave him a chance, he would certainly look into the matter.

Justice Aamer mentioned that his brothers are standing here in this condition today and who is responsible for this? He added that the damage to the windows and doors is not important but the damage to the dignity of this building is important.

Then, the IHC CJ also summoned the director general of NAB Rawalpindi and the watchdog’s prosecutor general, directing them to appear before the court within 30 minutes.

When the hearing resumed, Justice Aamer inquired from Director General NAB whether the arrest warrant of Imran had been issued by NAB Chairman. He replied, “Yes, the warrant was issued on May 1.” He said that NAB had sought assistance from the Interior Ministry for the execution of the warrant.

The IHC CJ questioned whether anyone from NAB was present during the execution of the arrest warrant.“ NAB Prosecutor Muzaffar Abbasi replied that the investigating officer had reached Bela Road when the PTI chief was arrested.

The judge said lawyers were attacked and the property of the court was damaged. “My concern is regarding the respect of the court. Whatever happened took place inside the court premises,” he said and added that damage to the building could be taken up later, but the injuries to lawyers and court staff are an important matter. The judge remarked: “We agree that you have issued a warrant, but is the way an arrest warrant is executed normally?”

Justice Aamir said the main concern of the Court is “whatever happened today was legal? “Is Imran Khan’s arrest legal or not?” PTI lawyer Haris said that NAB had announced on April 30 that an inquiry against Imran was being turned into an investigation. He added that NAB is bound to give him a copy of this [investigation].

He contended that, “I told them that I got to know about the development from newspapers and asked for a copy of the inquiry.” Then, he presented the case record in court. “NAB’s ill-intention is evident from the record,” Haris added.

The chief justice then told NAB that an arrest warrant could only be issued after an inquiry was turned into an investigation. “Absolutely, my argument is that an arrest warrant can only be issued when notices have been issued and a response has not been submitted,” the PTI lawyer said.

NAB’s Muzaffar argued that despite several notices Imran had never appeared before the bureau, to which the chief justice said: “Should we not go on merit? This is a big issue. They have raised legal questions and you should answer them.”

The chief justice inquired if the NAB had deployed Rangers to execute Imran’s arrest warrant. “If Rangers is deployed in the area, is the Islamabad police were told about it?” IG Nasir replied in the affirmative, saying that he was also aware about the arrest warrant. “Rangers deployed at the IHC fall under the police,” he explained.

Justice Aamer remarked that if Imran’s arrest was illegal, “he will have to be released”. “If the arrest is not illegal, then the proceedings will continue as per the law,” he added.

Subsequently, Justice Farooq reserved the verdict saying that an appropriate order will soon be issued.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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John May 10, 2023 10:43am
Like Generals...most judges have been compromised too, and history will not forgive them for their bias and unjust decisions that caused major harm to the nation!
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Joe May 10, 2023 11:15am
@John, True, where is CJP hiding....whose conflict of interest and biased decision started all this madness!
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