A Quetta judicial magistrate on Thursday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for PTI Chairman Imran Khan in a case related to alleged remarks against state institutions and their offices, and spreading hatred against them.
The warrant dated March 9, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, instructed the police to arrest Imran and present him before the court.
On March 6, a first information report (FIR) was registered against the former prime minister at the Bijli Road police station in Quetta by citizen Abdul Khalil Kakar.
In the FIR, which Dawn.com has seen, Kakar said that Imran addressed the public from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore on March 5, in which he levelled “baseless allegations against the state institutions”.
He alleged that the ex-premier’s statement was tantamount to “destroying public peace and order”. Imran has harmed the credibility of the institutions, the complainant claimed.
The complaint invoked sections 124-A (sedition), 153-A (giving provocation with intent to cause a riot if rioting is committed; if not committed) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
It also included Section 20 (Offences against the dignity of a natural person) of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.
On March 5, an Islamabad police team sent to Lahore to arrest Imran for skipping proceedings in the Toshakhana case returned empty-handed after the PTI chairman evaded the arrest.
Shortly after the police returned, the PTI chief addressed his supporters at his Zaman Park residence where the contingent supported by the Lahore police had arrived to take him to the federal capital.
Eventually, the team decided to call off the “operation” since PTI leader Shibli Faraz, who is also Imran’s chief of staff, informed that the PTI chairman was “not available”.
Addressing party leaders and workers on the lawn of his residence, the PTI chief said his lawyers would write a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan explaining that he was facing life threats.
“I am being called to appear before the courts in ‘farcical’ cases like a terrorism case with regard to a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan office while I was at my home,” Imran said.
“I appeared before the Lahore High Court and courts in Islamabad but no security was provided to me,” he complained.
Referring to the Toshakhana case, the former premier said proceedings should be televised. “If proceedings of the Toshakhana case are aired on TV, people will know that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari are the real dacoits, and the only person who did not do anything against the law will turn out to be Imran Khan,” he claimed.
The PTI chief said he feared attempts on his life until Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and the spy agency officer dubbed as ‘Dirty Harry’ remained in power.
He even called ‘Dirty Harry’ a psychopath for his alleged torture of PTI leaders, including Senator Azam Swati and Shahbaz Gill. “Besides these three, there is one more person who is involved in attempts on my life,” he hinted, without naming anyone.
The PTI chairman said the PDM government was out to create fear in his party through arrests and torture but they defused all such tactics by courting arrests.
He claimed that he was about to give a call for the court arrest movement across the country but the Supreme Court ruling which paved the way for general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stopped him from doing so.
Imran said that Shehbaz Sharif was about to be sentenced in an Rs16 billion FIA case and Rs8 billion NAB case but he was “made the prime minister through a regime change conspiracy”.
He alleged Maryam Nawaz was also caught holding expensive properties in London’s Mayfair area and could not present a money trail for these expensive properties. “Now the Punjab police are giving protocol, using taxpayers’ money, to Maryam Nawaz in her party’s political campaign,” he regretted.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that bailable arrest warrants were issued. The error is regretted.