LAHORE: An anti-trerrorism court (ATC) on Saturday granted interim pre-arrest bail to PTI Chairman Imran Khan in three cases with a directive to join investigation being conducted by the police.

Mr Khan appeared before the court along with his counsel Barrister Salman Safdar.

After hearing arguments of the counsel, presiding judge Ijaz Ahmad Buttar allowed pre-arrest bail to the former prime minister in the three cases till April 4 subject to furnishing of surety bonds of Rs100,000 each.

The judge directed the PTI chief to ensure his appearance at each subsequent hearing and also join the police investigation into the cases.

ATC cautions him against bringing supporters to court; PTI chief asks LHC for foolproof security

The judge warned Mr Khan against bringing his supporters to the court in future and made it clear that his case would not be heard if the directive was not followed.

The PTI chairman undertook to comply with the court’s orders.

Racecourse Police registered the cases against the former prime minister and other PTI leaders and workers on charges of attacking the police teams and burning official property and vehicles outside his Zaman Park residence. Besides Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, offences under various sections of Pakistan Penal Code have been included in the FIRs.

In a brief media talk at the court’s entrance, Mr Khan condemned the Punjab caretaker government for blocking roads in Lahore to stop his party workers from reaching Minar-i-Pakistan, where he was set to address a public rally on Saturday night.

He said the government made the city look like India-held Kashmir or occupied Palestine by placing containers on the roads. He also assailed the government allegedly for picking up his party workers.

Separately, Mr Khan approached the Lahore High Court for provision of security that he as an ex-premier was entitled to.

In a petition filed through Advocate Azhar Siddique, the PTI chief said sufficient security has not been deployed at his Zaman Park residence.

He claimed that due to security lapses because of the inefficiency of police authorities, he had to make private security arrangements in order to safeguard his life, even though it is the constitutional obligation of the government.

The petition argued that the respondents, despite a court’s direction, had deprived the petitioner and his party of security due to political grudges. Therefore, it said, the lives of the petitioner and his party members are in danger.

The petition asked the court to order the respondents to immediately provide foolproof security to the petitioner and beef it up with all allied facilities, round the clock, so that his life may be safeguarded, as the same has been guaranteed through Article 9 of the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2023

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