- Court also bars authorities from arresting the former PM in any case registered after May 9 till May 17
A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) approved on Friday the bail petition of former prime minister Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case, and barred authorities from arresting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman in any case registered in the jurisdiction of Islamabad after May 9 till May 17.
A bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz announced the decision.
During the hearing, Justice Aurangzeb asked Imran if he condemned the violence that followed his arrest. The PTI chief’s lawyer replied in the affirmative. The judge then asked him to submit a declaration in court stating the same.
Later, a separate bench granted protective bail to Imran in Zille Shah murder case. Zille Shah was a PTI worker who died when police conducted an operation at Imran’s Zaman Park residence in March 2023. A case was registered against Imran for his murder.
Imran also secured bail in three terrorism cases registered against him in Lahore.
Earlier, after a delay of two hours, the hearing regarding the Al-Qadir Trust began but proceedings were halted shortly on account of Friday prayers. Once it resumed, Imran’s lawyer Khawaja Haris presented his arguments, saying that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) could only issue an arrest warrant after the inquiry had formally been turned into an investigation.
He added that they had found out about the bureau’s inquiry report from the newspaper.
He further said that his client had approached the IHC on May 9 seeking the NAB report in the inquiry, but was arrested before he could enter the courtroom.
The IHC instructed NAB prosecutor general and the PTI chief’s lawyers to be prepared at the next hearing.
Following the order, Imran’s lawyer Faisal Chaudhry told reporters that the high court has given a two week bail and also ordered NAB not to arrest Imran during this period, as per Reuters.
Meanwhile, in an informal talk with the media, Imran said there was no reason to arrest him as he was in the court for bail, claiming that he was “abducted from the court”.
He said that the Punjab Police was present outside the court to arrest him.
“I am warning you about the whole situation. If you arrest me again, then the same old response will come.”
Upon his arrival, the former PM, who stayed in the rest house of Police Line Headquarters, was immediately taken for his biometrics and then to the courtroom.
Meanwhile, PTI has said that Imran would make a speech after his court appearance.
Authorities gear for Imran’s supporters
Meanwhile, the police imposed an emergency order banning gatherings as supporters of Imran are expected to march to the capital on Friday.
PTI said thousands of “peaceful Pakistanis” from across the country will gather in Islamabad in solidarity with their leader.
Nearly 2,000 people have been arrested so far and at least eight killed after Imran’s supporters clashed with police, attacked military establishments and set other state buildings and assets ablaze, prompting the government to call in the army to help restore order.
On Thursday, the SC had declared his arrest invalid and directed him to appear before the IHC on Friday (today) at 11:00 am for bail related to the call-up notice by NAB.
At around 3:20 pm on Thursday, the bench directed Advocate General Jehangir Jadoon to produce Imran before it at 04:00 pm. In compliance with the apex court order, the Islamabad police produced Imran before the bench amid tight security a little after 5:45pm.
He was brought inside the top court via the judges’ gate. Imran walked into the courtroom No. 1 and sat in the front row.
The chief justice while addressing Imran Khan said: “Your arrest was invalid and the process needs to be reversed to the time you were putting your thumb impression [in the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 9].”
Imran while explaining about his arrest urged his supporters and the PTI workers to avoid violence and remain calm and peaceful. He also asked his supporters not to damage any property whether it is public or private.
The court said Imran Khan shall be entitled to meet up to 10 guests, whose particulars shall be provided by him to the concerned police officer, subject to a security check by the police. These persons shall be allowed to stay with the petitioner as long as desired by him.
The petition was filed on Wednesday following Imran’s arrest by NAB from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
Earlier, the petition was returned due to a few objections but was accepted after PTI addressed the concerns.
Following Imran’s arrest, PTI leaders Asad Umar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, Ali Zaidi, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Falaknaz Chitrali, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema and Maleeka Bokhari were also arrested.
Major cities of the nation erupted with protests that led to many incidents of violence. Punjab police arrested over 1,000 people in connection to protests.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the violent protests being led by PTI amounted to “unforgivable crimes” and are “acts of terrorism.”
He warned that strict action would be taken against “state’s enemies” who are ransacking public properties and state installations.