The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday granted protective bail to PTI chief Imran Khan till June 21 in a case pertaining to fraud and forgery in the sale of Toshakhana gifts.
The order was issued by Justice Amjad Rafique on a petition filed by the former prime minister seeking transitory/protective bail.
The Toshakhana is a department responsible for storing gifts and other precious items given to Pakistani public officials and is under the control of the Cabinet Division.
Imran has faced a number of legal issues over his retention of gifts. The issue also led to his disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the past. Last month, he was indicted in the case.
The first information report (FIR) lodged against Imran on June 6, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, also names his wife Bushra Bibi, ex-accountability czar Shahzad Akbar and PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari among others.
It alleges that the accused “committed fraud, forgery for the purpose of cheating and presented a fake receipt of our business letterhead wherein false receipt showing sale purchases of gifts such as watches, cuff links are fraudulently obtained from Toshakhana with false signatures was prepared”.
“As per the record, no such transaction regarding the sale and above-mentioned items has ever taken place with such nominated accused persons and neither the accused persons has sold us any such items,” it added, demanding that the nominated persons should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.
The complaint — registered at Islamabad’s Kohsar police station — invokes sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467(forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Earlier today, the PTI chairman filed a petition in the LHC saying he was “falsely implicated” in the case with “malafide intention and ulterior motive”.
“The sole objective of naming the petitioner in the FIR is to harass, blackmail and politically victimise him” and requested that protective bail be granted.
The PTI chairman arrived at the court today in a black vehicle amid tight security as his security personnel stood guard with bulletproof shields.
During the hearing, Imran’s lawyer Salman Safdar argued that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had already initiated proceedings against the ex-premier in the Toshakhana case.
“Please grant us protective bail so that we can approach a relevant court in Islamabad,” he pleaded, adding that Imran was already set to appear in 11 cases in the capital city tomorrow.
Subsequently, the court accepted his request and granted him protective bail till June 21.
Court bars police from arresting Bushra Bibi in any case till June 13
Separately, the LHC also barred the police from arresting Imran’s wife Bushra Bibi in any case till June 13 and summoned a report signed by the Islamabad police chief detailing all the cases registered against her.
The orders were issued on a petition filed by Bushra Bibi seeking details of all the cases registered against her. A day earlier, the court had sought a report from the Punjab police on the matter.
At the outset of the hearing today, PTI lawyer Intezar Panjotha told the court that Islamabad police, in its report, had said that no new case was registered against Bushra Bibi. “But only yesterday, a complaint was lodged against her at the Kohsar police station,” he argued.
At that, Justice Rafique told the police, “It isn’t right to miscommunicate with the court.”
Meanwhile, the FIA, Punjab police and Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) also submitted their reports in court.
For his part, the government’s counsel said apart from the Al-Qadir Trust case, no other FIRs were registered against Bushra Bibi.