Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday granted protective bail to the former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) protest case.
Earlier in the day, the high court gave the former prime minister a final chance to appear before the court by 5pm on February 20 if he wanted to obtain bail to avert arrest in the case which incorporates terrorism provisions.
First, Imran Khan had to appear before a two-member bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi. Then, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh would preside over a separate case concerning the verification of Imran Khan’s signatures on documents bail.
After a delay of nearly three hours, the court approved the bail of Imran Khan till March 3. The former premier was instructed to approach the related court till the given date.
After a delay of approximately two hours, Imran Khan finally made his way to the courtroom, navigating through a crowd of his party workers.
Once he reached the rostrum, the former Prime Minister informed the court that his doctors had advised him against walking due to concerns that any sudden movements could potentially harm his ongoing recovery.
Despite these challenges, he made every effort to appear in court and demonstrate his respect for the judiciary. However, he revealed that he had attempted to exit his vehicle but was unable to do so.
At the outset of the hearing at around 7 pm, Justice Najafi ordered the SSP Security to produce Imran Khan within five minutes.
Imran Khan’s counsel had maintained that the police were not cooperating with them.
The bench – around 7: 15 pm – had adjourned the proceeding for half an hour to let Imran Khan reach the courtroom as a huge crowd prevented the injured Imran to come out of his vehicle.
Imran Khan had reached the court amid a huge crowd of party workers and supporters who followed him since he left his Zaman Park residence.
They chanted slogans in the ex-PM’s favour inside the court’s premises.
The security on and around the court premises had been beefed up with the installation of the barricade.
The former premier’s vehicle will only be allowed access up to these barricades. From that point forward, he will continue in a wheelchair as he is still recovering from bullet wounds.
Last week, during a hearing of Imran’s protective bail plea in a case relating to protests outside the ECP, Justice Sheikh noted differences in Imran’s signatures.
Following this, he summoned Imran to appear before the court on February 20, after PTI’s counsel promised to ensure his presence.
At the proceedings on February 15, one of Imran’s protective bail pleas was dismissed due to after confusion over his appearance before the LHC. However, the second application was adjourned until February 20 after PTI’s assurances.
Imran’s application seeking permission for his vehicle’s entrance into the LHC’s premises on February 20 was rejected.
The LHC declined the request for entrance through the Masjid Gate but has allowed Imran’s vehicle to enter the GPO gate up to the Drop Down Barrier/Litigant Center near the Attorney General’s office.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry in a tweet confirmed that Imran Khan will appear before the court today.
He said that the former premier will reach the court at 4:15 pm.