An Islamabad district and sessions court suspended on Tuesday non-bailable arrest warrants issued for PTI chairman Imran Khan in a case pertaining to threats issued to a judge.

On Monday, Senior Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim issued arrest warrants for Imran while hearing a case registered against the ex-premier for using threatening language against Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and the Islamabad police officials.

In yesterday’s hearing, Imran’s counsel had said that the former prime minister was ready to join the proceedings through video link. However, Judge Rahim rejected the plea and instructed the police to produce Imran in court by March 29.

Subsequently, the PTI challenged the warrants in the district court, which was taken up by the court of ADSJ Faizan Haider Gilani.

In its written order today, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the court said that Imran’s counsel contended that “due to security threat to the life of petitioner, the petitioner could not appear before the learned trial court”.

“In this regard, the security provided by the government has also been withdrawn. Learned counsel for the petitioner sought an adjournment to place on record the letter of the Government of Punjab, whereby, the security provided to the petitioner (former prime minister) was withdrawn,” the court noted.

It said the petitioner’s counsel sought an adjournment to place on record the letter of the Punjab government, whereby, the security provided to Imran was withdrawn. “Let the needful be done,” the ruling said.

It said that the arguments raised by Imran’s petition needed consideration.

“Now to come up for arguments on 16.03.2023. In the meanwhile, operation of the impugned order is hereby suspended till the next date,” the order added.

The hearing

In today’s hearing, lawyers Naeem Panjotha and Intizar Panjotha appeared in court.

As the proceedings commenced, Intizar stated that all the sections invoked against the PTI chief were bailable to which the judge asked if non-bailable arrest warrants had been issued for Imran earlier as well.

Before this, arrest warrants have not been issued in the case related to threatening the woman judge, the lawyer replied.

The court then directed Imran’s counsel to attach the documents submitted along with the petition. “I have been reading these [documents] for the past 15 minutes but I can’t understand what they say,” ADSJ Gilani said.

At one point during the hearing, Intizar contended that Imran was the ex-premier of the country and it was the government’s responsibility to provide him adequate security. “But instead, they have withdrawn his security.”

Here, the judge asked if PTI had a letter which proved that Imran’s security had been withdrawn.

“I can provide it to you by tomorrow,” the lawyer replied.

For his part, the government’s lawyer revealed that [arrest] warrants for Imran were also issued in the Toshakhana case. A sessions court had directed the police on Monday to arrest the PTI chief in the case and present him in court by March 18.

Meanwhile, the judge remarked that the ex-premier was leading an election rally in Lahore to which Imran’s lawyer stated that the PTI chairman had appeared in the judicial complex last month.

“But he never came to the katcheri (sessions court),” ADSJ Gilani pointed out. “The katcheri was attacked in 2014 but did we shift it anywhere else? Even during Imran’s tenure, the katcheri wasn’t moved.

“The party’s name is Tehreek-i-Insaf but what has it done? Tell me at least one legal reform that the PTI introduced,” the judge asked, stressing that hearings could be conducted via video link but “you are not focused on legal reforms”.

The court also asked if terrorism charges had been removed from the case to which the lawyer replied in affirmative.

Subsequently, ADSJ Gilani asked Imran’s counsel to submit security documents in court and suspended the arrest warrants till March 16. He also issued notices to the respondents in the case.

The case

The PTI chairman had on August 20 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 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.

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

However, a similar case, filed after the registration of a first information report (FIR) against him for threatening the judge, is pending before the sessions court.

Opinion

Editorial

More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...
IMF’s unease
Updated 24 May, 2024

IMF’s unease

It is clear that the next phase of economic stabilisation will be very tough for most of the population.
Belated recognition
24 May, 2024

Belated recognition

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later...
App for GBV survivors
24 May, 2024

App for GBV survivors

GENDER-based violence is caught between two worlds: one sees it as a crime, the other as ‘convention’. The ...