LAHORE: Former prime minister Imran Khan furnished surety bonds on Tuesday, 11 days after securing pre-arrest bail from the Lahore High Court (LHC) and an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in four criminal cases, including the May 9 attacks on Jinnah House, Askari Tower and the Shadman police station.

Separately, the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the May 9 attack on Jinnah House refused to meet the legal team of Mr Khan after he refused to appear before it citing serious security threats to his life.

The PTI chief first appeared before the ATC along with his guarantor Advocate Mohammad Habib to deposit the bonds in three cases relating to the May 9 protests.

On May 19, Judge Ijaz Ahmad Buttar had granted bail to Mr Khan in the three cases till June 2, subject to furnishing surety bonds of Rs100,000 each. However, the bonds could not be furnished due to Mr Khan’s unavailability.

JIT refuses to meet legal team after ex-PM doesn’t join probe into attack on corps commander’s residence

On May 26, the judge had rejected the bail bonds because Mr Khan’s guarantor Shehroz refused to take responsibility for the PTI chief’s appearance during trial proceedings.

Advocate Habib had appeared before the court on May 27 as guarantor, but the judge once again refused to entertain the bonds in the absence of Mr Khan.

On Tuesday, the PTI chairman and Advocate Habib appeared before the judge and completed the process of furnishing bail bonds.

Later, Mr Khan and his guarantor reached the LHC and deposited the surety bonds to the office of the additional registrar (judicial) in a case of concealing facts and evidence about the death of a PTI worker, Zille Shah, in a road accident.

Justice Anwarul Haq Pannun had granted bail to Mr Khan.

The ex-PM appeared before the courts amid strict security arrangements and did not respond to journalists’ questions.

Jinnah House attack probe

The JIT, headed by Lahore DIG (investigations) Kamran Adil, had asked the PTI chairman to personally appear before the team at 4pm on Tuesday in connection with a case lodged against him under 20 different sections, including anti-terrorism, murder and attempted murder, for attacking and setting on fire the Lahore Corps Commander House (Jinnah House) on May 9.

The former PM, however, refused to appear before the JIT and sent a team of lawyers with a written statement.

An official said the lawyers reached the DIG headquarters office to submit Mr Khan’s written statement. As the JIT members came to know that the former PM was not coming to join the investigation, they held a brief meeting and then refused to meet his lawyers, the official added.

The legal team of the PTI chairman later confirmed to the media that the JIT had refused to receive the written statement.

The former prime minister took a plea in the statement that he had received the summons with very limited time to respond. “The security threats are already in your knowledge and today I was due to appear before the anti-terrorism court and Lahore High Court in connection with bail bounds,” Mr Khan said in the statement, adding that he had already secured the bail in the stated matter [Jinnah House attack case] from the ATC. He asked the JIT to visit his Zaman Park residence to investigate or grill him in the case. “It is requested that taking into count the extreme threats and security concerns, huge cost implication to the state and myself, I will appreciate if I am facilitated at my Zaman Park residence on any date/time of your convenience,” the PTI chairman said.

He also referred to a court order in this respect, stating that similar exercise had been undertaken by the JIT in the past. Mr Khan further reminded that an LHC larger bench had directed the office of the JIT to facilitate him at his residence as there was no bar to either join through video link/questionnaire or in person.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2023

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