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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan got massive relief from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) as the authorities have been restrained from arresting him till May 15 in any case.

The PTI also got protective bail in three terrorism cases registered against him in Lahore and also in the Zille Shah murder case.

A two-member bench of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz granted Imran two weeks bail in the Al-Qadir Trust case. It also barred the authorities from arresting the PTI chief till May 17 in any case registered against him in Islamabad after May 9.

IHC terms PTI chief Imran Khan’s arrest legal

In the petition seeking relief in the cases registered against him on and after May 9 in Lahore, the IHC bench comprising Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri and Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir granted him protective bail for eleven days till May 22.

The IHC bench stated in its written order, that as far as regarding causing arrest of the petitioner in other cases is concerned, this Court is vested with ample powers under section 561-A of CrPC to secure the ends of justice.

It added, “Furthermore, the High Court is competent to pass proper orders and give consequential directions for preventing the abuse of the process of law for securing the ends of justice. Reliance is placed on the case titled “Sh. Zahoor Ahmad v. The State” [PLD 1974 Lahore 256].”

The petitioner is directed to approach Lahore High Court, Lahore on Monday i.e.15.05.2023, till then he shall not be arrested in criminal cases registered against him on or after 09.05.2023 or M.P.O., etc (if any), other than the FIR of instant petition,“ said the IHC bench.

It further said that this order shall cease to exist to the extent of causing arrest and expire automatically after the Court hours of said date i.e. 15.05.2023.

During the hearing of Al Qadir Trust case, Justice Aurangzeb asked Imran that has he condemned the violence that ensued after his arrest. The PTI chief’s lawyer replied in the affirmative. Then, the judge asked Imran to submit a declaration in court stating the same.

The hearing had initially begun after a nearly two-hour delay because the officials were conducting a security sweep outside the courtroom. But it was halted shortly after it began at 1pm on account of Friday prayers.

When the hearing resumed, Imran was present in the courtroom alongside his legal team and his lawyer Khawaja Haris presented his arguments. Haris adopted the stance before the court that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s actions were illegal.

He argued that the NAB could only issue an arrest warrant after an inquiry had formally been turned into an investigation. He said that the PTI got to know through media reports that the NAB had formally initiated an investigation against Imran. The counsel also said that the PTI chief had approached the IHC on May 9 seeking the NAB report in the inquiry but was arrested before he could enter the courtroom.

At one point, the court asked the petitioner if he was provided a questionnaire in connection with the case, to which, Haris replied in negative. He said that Imran was issued a call-up notice which he did not appear but submitted a written reply. Haris further said that the accountability watchdog was “biased” at the moment.

Advocate General (AG) Islamabad Barrister Jahangir Jadoon defended the government’s decision to bring in the army, citing the rising violence in the province, following Imran’s arrest. He added that there was no solid reason to bring this matter to the high court in the writ petition. At that, Justice Miangul questioned has martial law been imposed here that we stop hearing all applications.

Responding to Imran’s lawyers, the NAB Deputy Prosecutor General, Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, submitted that the inquiry started in July last year after that a call-up notice was issued but Khan never appeared for the inquiry. He also said that notices had also been served to a business tycoon, Zulfi Bukhari, and others. He added that Mian Muhammad Soomro, Faisal Vawda, and others who joined the inquiry were also served notices.

Later, the bench accepted Imran’s bail petition and also directed the NAB prosecutor general and Imran’s lawyers to come prepared at the next hearing. It also said that it would decide whether Imran’s bail should be cancelled or extended at the next hearing.

The IHC bench comprising Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri and Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir granted the PTI chief protective bail in three terrorism cases registered against him in Lahore for 11 days.

During the hearing, the PTI chief informed the court that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had warned of arresting him again, saying that there was no rule of law in the country currently.

Earlier, Justice Jahangiri also granted protective bail to Khan in a case pertaining to the death of Zille Shah — a PTI worker who was killed during a party rally in Lahore earlier this year — for 11 days against surety bonds worth Rs50,000.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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