ISLAMABAD: A local court on Wednesday rejected the application of former prime minister Imran Khan seeking exemption from personal appearance in the case registered against him for using threatening language against a female judge.

Civil judge/judicial magistrate Malik Aman issued the non-bailable arrest warrants for Mr Khan over his absence in the hearing of the case.

The legal counsel for former premier argued before the judge that Mr Khan is facing life threats and the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has also issued notice to the federal government over withdrawal of his security protocol.

The court briefly adjourned hearing till 11am.

After the hearing was resumed, special prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi appeared before the court and opposed the exemption plea. He said that Mr Khan was taking Wazirabad incident as an excuse for his absence.

He requested the court to convert the bailable arrest warrants into non-bailable.

The additional district and sessions judge Sayyed Faizan Haider Gillani on March 24 converted the non-bailable arrest warrants against PTI chairman into bailable.

The judge noted that the issuance of warrants was the discretion of the court to ensure his attendance and the accused might be asked to submit surety bonds.

The judicial magistrate in the order mentioned that Mr Khan has sought exemption on Oct 1, then on Jan 24, 26, Feb 13 and March 9.

He noted that the persistence absence showed that Mr Khan is unwilling to face the trial proceeding. He went on to state that despite conversion of non-bailable warrants into bailable, Mr Khan did not appear before the court.

Subsequently, the court revived his non-bailable warrants and directed the police to produce him on next date of hearing.

Further hearing in this matter has been adjourned till April 18.

The legal team of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on the other hand challenged the issuance of non-bailable warrants of Mr Khan before the ADSJ Sikandar Khan who will hear the application on Thursday (today).

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2023

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