Imran Khan gets protective bail in two cases registered in Islamabad

LAHORE: A two-member bench of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday granted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan protective bail till March 27.

The bench, comprising Justice Shehbaz Rizvi and Justice Farooq Haider, heard former prime minister Imran’s petitions seeking protective bail in two terrorism cases registered against him in Islamabad following clashes at the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) on Saturday.

PTI workers and the capital police clashed after Imran arrived at the Federal Judicial Complex in Islamabad to attend a hearing of the Toshakhana case on March 18.

Two first information reports (FIRs) were registered at the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and the Golra police stations in the capital against Imran and other PTI supporters.

On Monday, Imran filed two petitions in the LHC through Barrister Salman Safdar, seeking protective bail to “enable him to surrender and approach the competent court having jurisdiction to entertain the bail petition”.

The counsel submitted that the petitioner was residing at Zaman Park which was surrounded by police to arrest him. It was petitioner’s fundamental right that he be allowed to personally appear before the court, he added and requested the court to issue a strict direction to authorities to enable his client to approach the court without any fear.

The court directed the counsel to ensure the appearance of his client in the court at 2:15 pm on Tuesday if he wanted the court to hear petitions.

Earlier, Imran told Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh that he had arrived for the hearing in a vehicle no one knew about as the court took up his contempt petition against police operation at his Zaman Park residence on March 18.

Imran arrived at the LHC at around 1pm today and entered the premises from the Mosque Gate.

Imran reiterated his claim that his life was in danger and said that the rulers wanted to kill him. A “trap” was laid at the judicial complex.

The PTI chairman was accompanied by aide Fawad Chaudhry and party lawyers.

As the hearing started, Justice Sheikh inquired about the guards present in courtroom along with Imran to which Fawad replied that they were personal security.

However, the judge instructed them to leave the courtroom, saying that police were present there for security.

Imran came to the rostrum and recalled the events of March 18. He said that his wife was alone at home when police broke the windows of his house.

He said he was in Islamabad and police attacked his house. “His wife is a women who observes veil … her voice is recorded in the camera,” he continued.

Hurdles were set up in multiple places only so that I could not reach court, he told the court.

“I secretly reached the court today … I came in a car that no one is familiar with, without any convoy,” Imran said, adding that by doing all this what message did the government give to the world.

The only message they have given was that there was no rule of law in the country.

At that, the court instructed the government lawyer to seek directions regarding the Zaman Park operation and appear in court. “I will initiate contempt proceedings against all those who are sitting in the media and making a joke of the judiciary,” Justice Sheikh said.

He also warned that action would be taken if the respondents in the case did not respect the court. “We have to work as per the law, we only listen to what the law says,” the judge added.

Earlier, the police presented a report in court, which said that six cases were lodged against Imran in Punjab. Three of the FIRs were registered at Race Course police station in Lahore, while others were filed at Sarwar Road police station, Rawalpindi’s New Airport police station and Faisalabad’s Madina Town police station.

However, Justice Sheikh instructed the police to submit details of cases against Imran registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as well.

The judge also inquired about the dates of the FIRs and if the report included all the latest complaints as well, saying that “FIRs are being lodged every day”.

The police replied that the report included all the FIRs lodged until yesterday.

“What is the issue in providing all the details? Today is the time of [using] WhatsApp … you can find everything within a minute,” the judge remarked and then adjourned the hearing till 1pm.

He also instructed the police to present the complete case record in court.

Justice Sheikh said that “we have to act according to the law.”

Later, the hearing was adjourned for tomorrow.

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