Imran Khan to appear before LHC today for protective bail

Supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan gather outside Khan’s house on March 16, 2023 in Lahore, Pakistan.

Tension continues around Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence.
Police are awaiting court orders to arrest Imran Khan.
PTI is patrolling Zaman Park armed with sticks, iron rods.

LAHORE: Former Prime Minister Imran Khan will appear in the Lahore High Court for protective bail in several cases filed against him.

Sources said Geo News Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will appear in Lahore High Court after 2 pm. He added that party workers have been asked to gather at Zaman Park before Khan’s departure so that he can walk with him.

The PTI chief has approached the Lahore High Court for protective bail in nine cases. Five of them are listed in Islamabad and four in Lahore.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Tariq Saleem Shaikh and Justice Farooq Haider will hear the bail application filed against the cases registered under terrorism provisions.

Meanwhile, Justice Saleem will also hear the bail applications as a single bench.

Meanwhile, hundreds of PTI supporters thwarted party chairman Imran Khan by shielding his house on Friday. Arrest As the former prime minister waits to hear a verdict on whether security forces can come after him again for failing to attend a court hearing.

Ahead of the court verdict, there was a tense atmosphere in Lahore’s Zaman Park, which was the scene of hostilities earlier this week between PTI activists and the Punjab Police who were advancing on Khan’s house to arrest him for a To be produced in court in the case in which he is an accused. Of Selling official gifts They were given by foreign dignitaries without any legal process, when he was the prime minister.

Khan denies these allegations.

Although there was no police presence on Friday, witnesses said Khan’s supporters, armed with sticks and iron bars, stood guard outside his house.

PTI senior vice-president Fawad Chaudhary said his party had filed another petition in the Islamabad High Court on Friday seeking suspension of the warrant after a lower court issued the same order a day earlier. Such request was rejected.

“Our supporters are outside Imran Khan’s house but I don’t think things will escalate,” he added.

Amir Mir, information minister of the provincial interim government, said the police were awaiting a court decision on the warrant before taking any action.

Today’s hearing

During today’s hearing resumed by Inspector General Punjab (IG) Justice Tariq Saleem Shaikh, Advocate General and Fawad Chaudhry appeared in the court.

Appreciating Justice Saleem’s decision, Fawad said that because of you, the lives of the people of Lahore were saved.

He said that the police have assured to provide security to the PTI chief. He further said that we have withdrawn from holding a public meeting in Lahore but we will hold a meeting on Monday.

Justice Saleem remarked that the public meeting had been advised to be postponed.

The PTI leader said that Imran Khan’s bail bonds have been submitted.

The distinguished judge said that everyone has to follow the law, adding that the wrongdoers will not be spared. He said that we have installed cameras and I will not stop taking action against those who violate law and order.

IG Punjab said that he has directed the political party not to convert any part of the city into a “no-go area”.

Justice Saleem directed Fawad to submit the application before any public rally. The court also remarked that containers should not be used to block roads.

Advocate General said that they need access to Zaman Park area.

On this, Fawad said that they (government) want access to arrest people. “Arrest people after they are nominated,” he added.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan’s lawyer Khawaja Tariq Rahim assured the court of PTI chief’s appearance.

IG Punjab asked the court whether the police were allowed to enter if stones were pelted or Molotov cocktails were thrown at them. A senior Punjab police officer requested access from the court. Fawad replied: “We give them access”.

On this, the court directed the parties to find a solution.

The IG said that no one will be allowed to be a victim of retaliation. “We have technology and witnesses, not just pictures,” he added.

He assured the court that no one would be harmed.

“How will transparency be ensured?” The court asked the IG.

On this, the IG said that everything will be fair. He said that if we have evidence, we will not seek permission to arrest anyone.

Justice Salim said that an application should be filed for Imran Khan’s security.

The judge will also decide on the procedure for executing the warrant.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till 3 pm.

Riots and retreats

The violence on Tuesday and Wednesday, in which protesters threw petrol bombs and security forces used tear gas and water cannon, raised fears of a new political stalemate in nuclear-armed Pakistan, which is already reeling from an economic crisis. Suffering.

An Islamabad court issued the arrest warrant after the 70-year-old Khan failed to appear before it on charges that he illegally received government gifts from foreign dignitaries during his tenure as prime minister from 2018 to 2022. Sold as

The Election Commission of Pakistan found him guilty and barred Khan from holding public office for one parliamentary term.

Khan has said he is ready to submit a written affidavit that he will voluntarily appear in court on Saturday, but the court said such a promise was insufficient. It was not clear whether Friday’s court would consider the affidavit.

The legal proceedings against Khan began after he was removed from office in a parliamentary vote early last year. Since then, he has been calling for early elections and holding nationwide protests, and was shot and wounded at one of the rallies.

Current Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has rejected Khan’s demands and said that the elections will be held later this year as per the schedule.

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