Can stop IGP from arresting Imran if he surrenders, remarks Islamabad judge
'PTI chief's arrest warrants have become most expensive in the world'
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – A district and sessions court on Thursday reserved its verdict on the PTI petition seeking cancellation of arrest warrants issued against party chief Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case.
Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal reserved the verdict after hearing arguments from Khawaja Harris, who represented Mr Khan in the case, after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed him to submit an undertaking in the trial court that he would regularly attend hearings in the Toshakhana case.
The PTI had moved the IHC after police reached Lahore to arrest Imran Khan to implement the arrest warrants issued by the trial court over his persistent absence from proceedings. The bid sparked violent clashes between the PTI supporters and law enforcers, which were stopped temporarily following the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC).
At the outset of the hearing, Khawaja Harris read out the ruling of the high court that upheld the arrest warrants and directed him to submit an undertaking in the sessions court. The judge remarked his court was yet to receive the verdict of the IHC. He added the issue could be resolved in no time if Imran Khan appeared before court. The judge also questioned the concept of undertaking.
“Is it a must to arrest Imran Khan to produce before court?” questioned the PTI lawyer. The judge replied the ex-prime minister should come to court. “As per law, Imran Khan should assist police and not to show resistance,” Judge Zafar Iqbal remarked, adding that non-bailable arrest warrants had been issued to ensure physical appearance of the PTI chief.
Mr Harris replied his client wanted to appear before court as “we are not seeking exemption”. He, then, put to options before the judge, saying the court could accept the undertaking to cancel the warrants or could issue bailable warrants after receiving a surety. He assured the judge of Mr Khan’s appearance on March 18.
Read More: Imran Khan says to attend court hearing in bid to end clashes
In reference to a separate petition filed by the PTI challenging the maintainability of the case, the judge remarked that a notice would be served on the Election Commission of Pakistan. At which, Mr Harris requested the judge to summon the ECP lawyer today.
Talking about violent situation seen in Lahore during an attempt to arrest the PTI chairman, the judge remarked: “Imran Khan’s arrest warrants have become the most expensive in the world as government has spent millions to implement them.”
The judge remarked that he would order the IGP to not arrest Imran Khan if he surrendered before the authorities. “Why there was resistance as warrants were issued as per the law?” he questioned.
Khawaja Harris said there would be no need to uphold the warrants after the submission of the undertaking. Later, the judge issued notice to the ECP and adjourned the hearing till 12pm.
After the judge resumed hearing, Khawaja Harris and Barrister Gohar again requested the court to cancel the warrants after accepting the undertaking. Islamabad Police IG Akbar Nasir Khan appeared before court and said he had to come as the SHO concerned was in Lahore to implement the arrest warrants.
He said 65 policemen officials were injured after the PTI workers showed resistance. At which, the judge remarked that a simple matter had been made complicated, adding that Mr Khan should not show resistance.
Mr Harris said a case had been registered in Lahore against the clashes erupted in Lahore between the police and PTI workers in Zaman park. He requested the to not take up the violence case along with the Toshakhana case. Admitting that the Lahore episode was a wrong gesture, he asked the court to accept the undertaking and cancel the warrants.
Later, the judge reserved the verdict.