Published On: Wed, Mar 22nd, 2023
Published in Category: Lahore

LHC grants protective bail to Imran Khan in four cases including two anti-terrorism & two NAB cases

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LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday granted protective bail to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan in four cases including two anti-terrorism and two National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases. The two separate benches of the Lahore High Court granted interim bail to Imran Khan in two terrorism related cases till 27th March and in two NAB cases related to Toshakhana till 31st March.

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 in terrorism related cases.

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

The court while granting interim bail to Imran Khan in two terrorism related cases till 27th March has directed him to appear before the concerned court. The court has stopped police from arresting Imran Khan during this period.

PTI workers and the capital police clashed after Imran Khan 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 Khan 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 on Tuesday, Imran Khan 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 Khan arrived at the LHC at around 1:00 PM on Tuesday and entered the premises from the Mosque Gate.

Imran Khan 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 today (Wednesday).

Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh’s court heard a petition against police operation at Imran Khan’s Lahore residence.

Imran Khan maintained that the police had not respected the sanctity of his home and that the operation was illegal. The PTI chief asserted that the LHC’s March 17 orders were not followed, and sought contempt of court proceedings against the concerned authorities.

"My windows were broken, my wife observes the veil and her screams can be heard on camera, the sanctity of my home was breached," Imran told the court. He also claimed that five of his guards were "taken away and tortured".

The PTI chief also maintained that he had come to court "secretly through a hidden path that nobody knows and without a convoy".

"Contempt of court proceedings will be initiated against those who are making a joke out of the judiciary on media," Justice Sheikh remarked adding that "all parties must respect the court".

The court ordered the government's lawyer to present his case on the operation. Furthermore, the judge summoned all respondents, including IG Punjab and adjourned proceedings until March 28.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government's counsel and Assistant Advocate General raised objections over Justice Sheikh and filed a request for the case to be heard by another court.

Irked by the request, the court questioned on what grounds the Punjab government had lost confidence in the single bench.

"This [application] is over a previous judgment," the judge remarked, "if you repeat this again I will pursue contempt of court proceedings."

"Suo motu notice can also be taken," Justice Sheikh remarked as he told the government to follow the previously issued orders and present the records.

Meanwhile, a two-member bench returned Imran Khan's application seeking protective bail in two National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases.

The court remarked that a bench already exists that hears NAB-related cases and so advised Imran to submit the applications to the concerned bench instead.

Later on two-member bench of LHC headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and comprising Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi heard Imran Khan’s petition for granting pre-arrest bail in two NAB cases related to Toshakhana gifts. The counsel of Imran Khan argued that we need protective bail for appearing before NAB in Islamabad.

During the hearing, Imran Khan said that he spends all his time in courts when the date for elections has been announced and he is unable to distribute tickets. "About 100 FIRs have been filed against me in a single month," he added.

The court while granting protective bail for 10 days till 31st March has stopped NAB from arresting him and has also directed Imran Khan to approach the concerned court during this period.