ISLAMABAD: Two separate courts in the federal capital issued arrest warrants for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan after he skipped proceedings in cases pertaining to threats issued to a judge and the Toshakhana gifts.

While hearing the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) reference seeking criminal proceedings against Mr Khan for concealing details of Toshakhana gifts, ADSJ Zafar Iqbal re-issued the arrest warrants after Imran Khan chose to skip the proceedings.

Mr Khan’s counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed said that the former premier was facing serious security threats, as he termed his absence from the court indeliberate. He said that Mr Khan was also suffering from injuries which was the reason he could not travel to Islamabad. He requested the court to exempt Mr Khan from personal appearance and also requested to declare the complaint as not maintainable.

ECP’s counsel Saad Hassan argued that the IHC’s restraining order lapsed on Monday as Mr Khan was directed to appear before the court by March 13. He argued that the PTI chairman was misusing the relief granted to him by various courts.

Advocate Haris argued that the police in Islamabad and other provinces have registered at least 40 cases against Mr Khan and the former prime minister has petitioned before IHC seeking permission to join proceedings through a video link. The court re-issued the arrest warrant and directed the police to produce him before the court on March 18.

Threats to judge

In another case, civil judge Rana Mujahid Rahim also issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Mr Khan while hearing a case registered against the PTI chairman for using threatening language against ADSJ Zeba Chaudhry and the Islamabad police officials.

Mr Khan’s counsel filed an application seeking an exemption from personal appearance; however, the court rejected the plea and ordered him to appear before the court by 12:30pm.

The judge remarked that the court was scheduled to indict Mr Khan and that he was summoned to receive copies of relevant documents. The counsel representing the former premier argued that Mr Khan was ready to join the proceedings through a video link. The judge rejected the plea and issued non-bailable arrest warrants while asking the police to produce Mr Khan on March 29.

Tyrian White case

Meanwhile, a large bench of the IHC comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, and Justice Arbab Mohammad Tahir resumed hearing on the petition seeking disqualification of Mr Khan for concealing his daughter in the nomination papers he submitted to contest the elections in 2018.

During the hearing, Justice Kayani inquired from Hamid Ali Shah, the counsel of the petitioner Sajid Mehmood, to produce documents to substantiate that Tyrian was in fact the daughter of Mr Khan. Hamid Ali Shah produced the verdict of a California court. Justice Kayani pointed out that it was an ex-parte decision and was not a conclusive judgement. Mr Shah argued that Mr Khan initially joined the court’s proceeding in California but skipped after the court directed him to undertake a DNA test.

He further argued that Mr Khan submitted a no-objection certificate on an affidavit to a superior court in California when Tyrian’s aunt Caroline White filed a suit for her custody. According to him, the affidavit was an acknowledgment from Mr Khan that Tyrian was his daughter.

He argued that Mr Khan did not mention her name in the declaration he submitted to the returning officer. IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq directed the lawyer to produce more material to substantiate the allegation and adjourned the hearing till March 20.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2023

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