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Islamabad anti terrorism court extends bail of Imran in 3 cases

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An Islamabad anti-terrorism court on Wednesday extended the bail of PTI Chairman Imran Khan in three cases pertaining to violence outside the Federal Judicial Complex and the Islamabad High Court until July 26.

In early March, the former premier was booked by the capital’s Ramna police in two cases. He was accused of leading mobs to the FJC and the IHC as he appeared for hearings there.

Additionally, a third case was filed against him by the Golra police station for allegedly causing unrest outside the FJC when he went there on March 18 for a Toshakhana case hearing.During the last proceedings, the ATC had issued bailable arrest warrants for the PTI chief and summoned him on July 19.

Ahead of his arrival in court, the PTI tweeted a video of the former prime minister’s vehicles and security detail reaching a rainy Islamabad.

Accompanied by his legal team led by Salman Safdar, the PTI chief later reached the courtroom.

The judge warned them that if the investigation was not conducted properly, he would personally summon the police inspector general.

Imran’s lawyer argued that the former prime minister had been wrongly implicated in the case. He added: “If there is nothing against him, then let us know, and we will withdraw our bail plea.”

The counsel also expressed concern about the police serving as both the complainant and investigator in the cases.

The judge briefly called the PTI chief to the rostrum as both sides furnished their arguments. After considering the arguments, the court granted bail to the former premier in three cases until July 26.

Toshakhana case

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court reserved its verdict on a petition filed by the PTI chairman challenging the maintainability of a criminal complaint against him for allegedly concealing details of Toshakana gifts.

Imran’s counsel, Khawaja Haris, informed the court that the sessions court pronounced its verdict “merely 15 minutes” after hearing arguments from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), without allowing the PTI chief’s legal team to present their version.

He added that their request to postpone the hearing from July 8 to July 10 was also rejected. Haris argued that if a high court sends a case back to the trial court, it should be referred to a different court instead. He contended that a judge who had already expressed a clear stance should not have been assigned the same case.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq asked about the next date of the sessions court hearing. The counsel replied that it was fixed for Thursday (tomorrow).

After hearing arguments, the judge reserved his ruling on the plea.

The Toshakhana case

The case, filed by ruling party lawmakers, is based on a criminal complaint filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The case alleges that Imran had “deliberately concealed” details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana — a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept — during his time as the prime minister and proceeds from their reported sales. Imran has faced a number of legal issues over his retention of gifts. The issue also led to his disqualification by the ECP.

The Toshakhana is a department under the Cabinet Division that stores gifts given to rulers and government officials by heads of other governments and foreign dignitaries. According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.

The watchdog’s order had said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

Subsequently, the ECP had approached the Islamabad sessions court with a copy of the complaint, seeking proceedings against Imran under criminal law for allegedly misleading officials about the gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his tenure as the prime minister.

Judge threatening case

Separately, the PTI chief also appeared before another local court in Islamabad for the hearing of a case related to alleged threats made to a judge.

The hearing was conducted by Judicial Magistrate Malik Aman, and Imran’s counsel, Salman Safdar, represented him in court. As the hearing commenced, Safdar stated that his client was being falsely accused in all the cases, and he pointed out that the police were acting as both accusers and investigators. The counsel argued that Imran had a clean record with no prior criminal involvement throughout his 71 years of life.

Salman Safdar highlighted that terrorism charges were unjustly filed against Imran, and he questioned the ongoing nature of the case despite the lack of witnesses and evidence. He also pointed out that neither Judge Zeba nor the Inspector General had come forward as witnesses, yet warrants were continuously being issued against them.

The lawyer raised concerns about how charges could be framed against his client without recording statements under Section 161 of the Pakistan Penal Code. He insisted that the case was fabricated for political motives. Appearing before the judge, Imran explained to the court that the words he used in his speech were spoken in the heat of the moment.

He added that he had even personally visited Judge Zeba Chaudhry’s court to offer his apologies for those remarks. Imran reiterated that he had always been a law-abiding citizen and had never violated the law throughout his life.

The PTI chairman had on August 20, 2022 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 then-Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Akbar Nasir Khan, the DIG and Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry.

Initially, Imran 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.

A month later, the IHC removed the terrorism charges against Imran and also pardoned him after he tendered an apology in the contempt case.

 

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