Imran Khan walks free after IHC grants him reprieve in multiple cases
IHC grants protective bails in all cases
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday barred the law-enforcement agencies from arresting PTI chief Imran Khan in any case lodged against him across the country until Monday (May 15).
Subsequently, the court granted him a 10-day transitory bail in cases lodged in Lahore.
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Tariq Mehmood Jehangiri and Justice Ejaz Ishaq Khan, issued the order. It adds to the relief given to Mr Khan by the IHC including the court's orders to bar security forces from arresting Mr Khan in any case lodged after May 9 until May 17, and to stop proceedings in the Toshakhana case filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against Mr Khan for allegedly concealing gifts.
One of the cases lodged in Lahore pertained to Ali Bilal alias Zille Shah's murder. Zille Shah was purportedly killed amid PTI's protests in Lahore with the Punjab police nominating Mr Khan and other PTI leaders in his murder case. On the other hand, the PTI claimed that Mr Shah had been murdered by police. Mr Khan had moved court for protective bails in four cases including Zille Shah’s murder case.
Relief in Al-Qadir Trust case
Earlier, the IHC granted him bail in the Al-Qadir Trust case, barring the authorities from arresting him till May 17. It comes a day after the Supreme Court had termed his arrest in the case "illegal" and ordered him to appear before the IHC to seek bail.
A division bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz announced the ruling that is expected to cool down the tension in the country, which erupted following the arrest of the former premier.
A day ago, the apex court had ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to immediately set PTI chief Imran Khan at liberty after declaring his arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case "illegal".
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, heard the case after the PTI had approached the apex court challenging IHC's decision of giving legal cover to the arrest Mr Khan in the case.
The court subsequently ordered Mr Khan to approach the IHC - the court that had declared Mr Khan's arrest "legal" - by Friday and bound the PTI chief to follow the order of the court. However, the court did not quash the arrest warrants but raised questions on the way Mr Khan had been taken into custody.
Proccedings stopped in Toshakhana case
As for the Toshakhana case filed by the ECP against Mr Khan, the court stopped proceedings in the case.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq issued the ruling on a petition filed by the PTI chief, seeking transfer of his trial in the case from the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar.
The petition had been filed on May 11 - a day after the additional sessions judge indicted Mr Khan in the Toshakhana case and summoned three witnesses of prosecution on May 13 to record their statements. The trial court's judge had also turned down the PTI chief’s plea for transfer of his case.
At the outset of the hearing, Mr Khan’s lawyer Khawaja Harris said he had four applications, adding that the ECP secretary was not authorised to send the Toshakhana case to the trial court. He said the ECP did not follow the law by sending the complaint, adding that the complaint could not be sent after the lapse of the set time period.
The IHC chief justice also commented on the security measures taken outside the high court ahead of Imran Khan’s appearance in another case, saying: “It seems curfew has been imposed”.
Mr Harris, later, pleaded the chief justice to issue a stay order on proceedings in the Toshakhana case. The IHC accepted the plea, ruling that the trial would remain suspended until the PTI plea was decided by it. Later, the case was adjourned till June 8.
Army called in ahead of PTI's protests
Soon after his arrest, violent protests erupted across the country with four dead and 27 injured in Peshawar. Other citites including Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Quetta have also been mired by protetsts with protesters buring and damaging public property.
In response to the violent protests, political adminstrations in Punjab, KP, Balochistan and Islamabad called in Pakistan Army to assist police and administration in maintaining law and order.