An Islamabad court on Wednesday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for PTI Chairman Imran Khan in a case related to alleged threats made to a judge, and directed the authorities to present him before the court on April 18.

In the last hearing on March 24, the court converted the non-bailable arrest warrant issued for the PTI chief into a bailable warrant at the PTI’s request while hearing a case registered against the ex-premier for allegedly using threatening language against Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and the Islamabad police officials.

Today, prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi appeared in Judicial Magistrate Malik Aman’s court. Imran was represented by his counsel Faisal Chaudhry.

The hearing

At the outset of the hearing, the prosecutor objected to Imran’s absence, saying his warrants should be changed from bailable to non-bailable as he failed to appear before the court.

“We are done with his excuses regarding the Wazirabad incident. Did he not provide a similar excuse when he appeared before another court two days ago?” Rizwan asked.

He pointed out that Imran’s request for exemption from attendance had been granted in each hearing.

He also cited the judge’s statement from the last hearing, in which the judge stated that Imran’s warrants had been issued due to his persistent absence from the proceedings.

The prosecutor objected that the former premier’s signature was not on the request for exemption from attendance, saying it was just signed by his lawyer.

Following the hearing of arguments, the judge announced the verdict, directing the authorities to take Imran Khan into custody and present him before the court on April 18.

Senior Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim had on March 13 issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Imran in the same case which were later challenged by the PTI in the district court.

Imran, through his counsel, contended that his arrest warrants issued on March 13 were against the facts and law, as he couldn’t appear in person on the given date due to health issues and threats to his life.

The judge had noted that issuing warrants was the court’s discretion to ensure the former premier’s attendance and he might be asked to submit surety bonds.

Later, ADSJ Faizan Haider Gilani asked Imran’s counsel to submit security documents in court and had suspended the warrants till March 16.

The case

The PTI chairman had on August 20, 2022 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 then-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.

A month 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.

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