Published On: Sat, Mar 11th, 2023
Published in Category: Islamabad

BHC Justice Zaheer-Ud-Din Kakar suspends Imran Khan’s arrest warrants in case linked to remarks against state institutions

Share This

ISLAMABAD: The Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Friday suspended non-bailable arrest warrants issued for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan by a Quetta judicial magistrate in a case of hate speech against state institutions and officers.

On Thursday, the court of Judicial Magistrate-1 Bashir Ahmed Bazai issued arrest warrants for Imran Khan on the basis of a first information report (FIR) registered against him at Quetta’s Bijli Road police station. The magistrate had also instructed the police to arrest the PTI chief and present him in court.

On Friday, the PTI approached the Balochistan High Court (BHC), seeking the cancellation of Imran Khan’s warrants. It also demanded that the FIR lodged against him be quashed.

BHC’s Justice Zaheer-Ud-Din Kakar conducted the hearing on Friday and suspended the arrest warrants for two weeks after listening to arguments from the petitioner’s lawyer.

He also issued notices to the Quetta inspector general of police, director investigation, senior superintendent (legal), the station house officer and the complainant.

Justice Zaheer-Ud-Din Kakar of the BHC heard the plea filed by Iqbal Shah of the Insaf Lawyers Forum (ISF) on behalf of the PTI chief.

The plea maintained that the offence wasn’t committed in the jurisdiction of Bijli Police Station where the case had been registered and requested the court to dismiss the FIR.

In the petition, the PTI argued that the case registered against Imran Khan at Quetta’s Bijli Road police station was not valid since the alleged offence did not fall under its jurisdiction.

Terming actions taken by the Balochistan police as “illegal [and] unlawful”, the PTI said there was “no other efficacious, speedy, and alternate remedy available to the petitioner except to file the instant quashing petition” for redressal of his grievance“.

The petition further said that Section 20 (malicious code) of the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016 (Peca) was not applicable as Imran did not “intentionally and publically [sic] display [or] transmit any information through any information system”.

Justice Zaheer-Ud-Din Kakar, while suspending the warrant, also issued the summons for the Balochistan police chief, SP legal and the station house officer of the Bijli Police Station. The hearing was then adjourned for two weeks.

The development comes as a team of the Quetta police, comprising City SP Nadeem Ahmed, DSP Abdul Sattar Achakzai, Sub-Inspector Malik Hameed and two commandoes Qaiser and Sultan, reached Lahore to arrest the PTI chief. The team, which had received non-bailable arrest warrants from the judicial magistrate, had informed Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Bilal Siddique Kamyana in this regard.

Earlier on Friday, media reports and the PTI said a police team from Quetta had reached Zaman Park to arrest Imran Khan.

On March 6, an FIR was registered against the former prime minister at the Bijli Road police station in Quetta by citizen Abdul Khalil Kakar.

In the FIR, Kakar said that Imran Khan addressed the public from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore on March 5, in which he leveled “baseless allegations against the state institutions”.

He alleged that the ex-premier’s statement was tantamount to “destroying public peace and order”. Imran Khan has harmed the credibility of the institutions, the complainant claimed.

The complaint invoked sections 124-A (sedition), 153-A (giving provocation with intent to cause a riot if rioting is committed; if not committed) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

It also included Section 20 (Offences against the dignity of a natural person) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.