ISLAMABAD: A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday extended the pre-arrest interim bail of former prime minister Imran Khan in eight different cases till April 18 and exempted him from personal appearance as well.

The bench consisted of Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb.

At the outset of the proceedings, the counsel for Mr Khan filed an application seeking his exemption from personal appearance. He argued that since Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was scheduled to attend a ceremony on the premises of the IHC, the PTI chief be exempted from attending the proceedings.

He further said that since the PTI chief would appear before the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Islamabad after Eid holidays, the IHC should put off further hearings on the bail matter after Ramazan. The counsel said that since the former prime minister was facing “threats to his life”, he should be exempted from attending court hearings.

Justice Farooq said the court would not extend any benefit to Mr Khan which it cannot give to a common litigant under the law. The IHC chief justice observed that personal appearance was mandatory for any accused during criminal proceedings.

Security protocol

Chief Justice Farooq asked the federal government to provide a copy of the rules framed for the security protocol for former prime ministers. He was hearing a petition filed over remarks made by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah against Mr Khan.

Additional Attorney General Muna­war Iqbal Duggal told the court that the government had notified the security protocol for former prime ministers.

According to him, an assessment committee determines the security arrangements for ex-prime ministers.

A representative of the interior ministry told the court that no notification to provide security to Mr Khan had been issued so far.

He said it was obligatory upon the federal government to provide security to former prime ministers in the federal capital while the provincial govern-ments were responsible for their security within their jurisdiction.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2023

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