Imran Khan’s non-bailable arrest warrants issued in Toshakhana, judge threatening cases as he failed to appear in courts
Courts instruct the police to present Imran Khan while arresting him on March 18 & March 29, respectively
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Two non-bailable arrest warrants were issued for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday after he failed to appear in courts in cases linked to the Toshakhana reference and threatening a woman additional district and sessions judge Zeba Chaudhry.
The 70-year-old ex-premier Imran Khan has been recovering from a gunshot injury from an assassination attempt in Wazirabad last year and has skipped hearings in several cases.
The PTI chief was supposed to appear before two district and session courts in Islamabad on Monday but Imran Khan’s lawyers filed petitions seeking an exemption from the hearings citing security reasons.
The courts of Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal (hearing the Toshakhana case) and Senior Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim (hearing the judge threatening case) issued arrest warrants for Imran Khan and instructed the police to present him before the courts on March 18 and March 29, respectively.
At the outset of Monday’s hearing, Imran Khan’s legal team again sought an exemption citing security threats and also filed a request to be discharged from the case.
Judge Zafar Iqbal heard the case and reserved the verdict till 3:15pm today on the plea filed by Imran Khan’s counsel Khawaja Harris Ahmed.
“It’s not that Imran Khan is not appearing before the court deliberately. He has security threats,” said the lawyer.
Khawaja Haris also filed a plea seeking to declare the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) complaint against the PTI chief as “non-maintainable”.
The sessions court had ordered the PTI chairman to appear before it for his indictment in the case. However, Imran Khan’s lawyer stated that the PTI chair will not appear before the courts on Monday.
Imran Khan’s counsel said that it should be decided whether the case is admissible before issuing an arrest warrant, adding that legal requirements were not taken into account while filing a complaint against Imran Khan.
“The Election Commission did not file a complaint against Imran Khan but the district election commissioner did,” he said, adding that the instructions in the complaint were to take action against the PTI chief.
He added that the Election Commission can file a complaint against the former premier. “There was no need for an affidavit when lodging a complaint against Khan and the complainant had different signatures on the affidavit and the statement,” added Khawaja Haris.
Imran Khan’s lawyer also said that a complaint against corrupt practice and criminal proceedings could have been lodged within 120 days as per the law but in this case, it was filed after three years.
Khawaja Haris said that the IHC had suspended the warrant till today and directed to continue the proceedings as per the law.
Election Commission’s lawyer Saad Hasan, while presenting his arguments, said that the main debate revolves around Imran Khan’s arrest warrant. “If the court thinks that the complaint is inadmissible then there is no issue in that,” he added.
Hasan argued that “the IHC’s suspension of the warrant expired today, adding that the high court had directed Khan to appear before the court today”. The session court should check if the warrant is implementable.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan’s counsel stated that there is no reason to take criminal action against the former PM.
He added if the ECP has to present arguments regarding the admissibility of the complaint then all the previous hearings will become illegal.
On the other hand, while presenting his arguments on Imran’s plea for exemption, ECP lawyer Muhammad Amjad Pervaiz said that everyone in the country had security threats but court proceedings could not be stopped for this reason.
As the arguments concluded, the judge reserved the verdict on the plea for Imran Khan’s exemption and said that the decision would be announced at 3:15pm.
Meanwhile Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Barrister Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, while speaking to media persons, said that Imran Khan is flouting the law.
The court’s warrant against Khan should be implemented, he said, adding that the PTI chief should be arrested on the orders of the IHC.
“Imran Khan has stolen and now is answerable for that. He is escaping from the court,” said Ranjha.
Berating Khan, the PML-N leader said that the PTI chief destroyed the country. “Imran Khan did not plan any project in the country during his three-year tenure,” he lamented.
Ranjha said that the PTI chairman should come to court and attend the proceedings. “He is neither Sadiq nor Ameen, he is a thief,” he said.
Meanwhile earlier on Monday, the court of Senior Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim also issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Imran Khan in a case pertaining to using threatening language against a woman additional district and sessions judge and senior police officers.
The court instructed the police to arrest the former prime minister and present him before the court by March 29. It also said that arguments on Imran’s petition seeking to be dismissed from the case will be heard in the next proceedings.
The PTI chairman had on August 20 condemned the police as well as the judiciary over the alleged custodial torture of Shahbaz Gill and announced that his party would file cases against Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Akbar Nasir Khan, the DIG and Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry.
Initially, Imran Khan was booked under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Besides, Islamabad High Court (IHC) also initiated contempt of court proceedings against him.
Later, the IHC removed the terrorism charges against Imran and also pardoned him after he tendered an apology in the contempt case. However, a similar case, filed after the registration of a first information report (FIR) against him for threatening the judge, is pending before the sessions court.
As the hearing resumed today, the PTI filed a plea requesting an exemption from personal appearance for Imran.
However, Judge Rahim issued a warning that non-bailable arrest warrants could be issued for the former premier if he failed to appear before the court today.
After a brief recess in the hearing, Imran’s counsel Naeem Panjotha filed another petition seeking the acquittal of his client in the case.
He said the in-person appearance of an application was not mandatory in the acquittal plea.
After hearing arguments, the judge reserved judgment on the exemption plea and said it would be announced later on Monday.