The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday granted PTI Chairman Imran Khan protective bail in a case registered against him for the murder of senior Supreme Court lawyer Abdul Razzaq Shar — who was shot dead in Quetta earlier this week — for two weeks.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb.

Shar was shot dead by unidentified assailants near Quetta’s Alamo Chowk on Airport Road on June 6. Police said he was on his way to the Balochistan High Court when his vehicle came under attack by unknown men armed with automatic weapons. The lawyer received 15 bullet injuries and died on the spot.

The government and the PTI had traded blame over the incident, with both sides accusing the other of having a role in the killing.

Prime minister’s aide Attaullah Tarar had alleged that the lawyer was killed at the behest of Imran to allegedly evade accountability in a treason case while PTI spokesperson Raoof Hassan had accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah of being behind the murder.

It may be recalled that Shar had filed a constitutional petition against the PTI chief in the Balochistan High Court, seeking proceedings against the ex-premier under Article 6 that pertained to high treason. His petition said that Imran Khan should be tried under Article 6 in light of the apex court decision which had recommended legal action against Imran Khan and Qasim Suri for illegally dissolving the National Assembly after the joint opposition had moved a no-trust motion against the PTI government in April 2022.

On June 6, a first information report (FIR) was registered on the complaint of Shar’s son, Advocate Siraj Ahmed, against Imran at Quetta’s Shaheed Jamil police station in an “abetment to murder” case.

In the complaint, Ahmed said he was “certain” about the involvement of the former premier and others from the PTI in his father’s murder because of this case.

Earlier today, the PTI chief had filed a petition in the IHC seeking bail in the case. During the hearing, PTI lawyer Salman Safdar said his client would have to travel to Quetta for the case and pointed out that there were no flights available.

The judges subsequently granted Imran protective bail for two weeks.

Meanwhile, the PTI chief also secured bail in 17 other cases from the IHC, anti-terrorism court and district court.

Imran reached court a little after 2pm. A video posted on PTI’s official Twitter account showed the former prime minister’s black SUV entering the premises of the IHC as his security personnel stood guard with bulletproof shields.

Imran appears before NAB in Al-Qadir Trust case

After wrapping up his court hearings, Imran appeared before the National Accountability Bureau’s office in Rawalpindi for an investigation into the Al-Qadir Trust case.

The case alleges that the former premier and his wife obtained billions of rupees and land worth hundreds of kanals from Bahria Town Ltd for legalising Rs50 billion, which was later identified and returned to the country by the UK during the tenure of the PTI government.

Imran arrived at the NAB office a little before 5pm. Ahead of his arrival, security outside the NAB office was tightened with police, Rangers and FC personnel deployed. Dawn.com’s correspondent present at the scene said a prisoner van was also parked outside the accountability watchdog’s office.

Last week, NAB had directed Bushra Bibi and the PTI chief to appear before its Rawalpindi office along with documents pertaining to the registration, donations and other details of the Al-Qadir University on June 7.

However, the ex-premier had requested the bureau to move the hearing to June 8 (today) as he was scheduled to appear before IHC and other courts in Islamabad.

Imran was whisked away from the IHC premises by paramilitary forces in connection with the case on May 9, leading to violent protests across the country.

The PTI chief had immediately approached the high court for release but it had declared his arrest legal. However, following the Supreme Court’s verdict of the arrest being unlawful, he was released.

IHC grants Imran bail in 9 cases till June 12

Earlier in the day, the IHC also granted Imran bail in nine other cases till June 12. Six of these cases were linked to the May 9 violence, while one each pertained to attempted murder and allegations against top officers of state institutions.

The remaining case was regarding fraud and forgery in the sale of Toshakhana gifts

During the hearing today, presided over by Justice Farooq, Imran’s lawyer Intezar Panjotha requested the court to grant his client protective bail for two weeks. He recalled that the PTI chief had filed similar pleas earlier as well.

“Last week, we had requested that our cases at the F-8 Katcheri be moved to the Federal Judicial Complex and the high court had accepted our request,” the lawyer said.

“We want to go to the new court but so far the shifting [of cases] has not been completed,” Panjotha said, adding that his client had security concerns at the F-8 Katcheri.

Subsequently, Justice Farooq reserved the decision on Imran’s petitions and said an appropriate order will be issued.

The court later, in its verdict, granted bail to the PTI chief and directed him to appear before a relevant court.

PTI chief secures relief in hearings at Federal Judicial Complex

After attending hearings at the IHC, Imran arrived at the Federal Judicial Complex and appeared before an anti-terrorism court where he was granted interim bail in eight cases related to violation of Section 144.

At the outset of the hearing, which was conducted by ATC Judge Raja Jawad Abbas, Imran’s lawyer Salman Safdar contended that his client was appearing in dozens of cases every other day.

“When the suspect submits his responses to the investigation team, but they don’t grant him permission to join the probe,” he decried.

At that, the court inquired if the prosecution had been in touch with Safdar to which the former replied in the affirmative. “They [the prosecution] have some options, you can discuss them together,” the judge said.

Here, Imran came to the rostrum and requested the court to hear the cases via video link citing security risks.

For his part, the prosecutor said, “Tell me one case in which Imran has joined the investigations.”

Imran’s lawyer then requested the court grant his client bail until Eid-ul-Azha. Subsequently, the court approved the PTI chief’s interim bail till June 19.

Separately, the PTI chief also secured pre-arrest bail against surety bonds worth Rs50,000 in a case pertaining to violence.

Ahead of Imran’s arrival, security outside the FJC was beefed up with a huge contingent of Islamabad police and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel deployed both inside and outside the complex.

Earlier in the day, the FJC registrar granted the PTI chief permission to enter the court premises in his vehicle.

In the request, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Imran said it was crucial for him to have access to his vehicle within court premises to “ensure safety and minimalise potential risk during the attendance”.

Stay extended on criminal proceedings against Imran in Toshakhana case

Prior to Imran’s arrival, the IHC granted an extension in its order issued last month in which it had temporarily halted the criminal proceedings against the PTI chairman in the Toshakhana reference.

The Toshakhana is a department responsible for storing gifts and other precious items given by foreign officials to Pakistani public officials and is under the control of the Cabinet Division.

The reference alleges that Imran had “deliberately concealed” details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana — a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept — during his time as the prime minister and proceeds from their reported sales.

Imran has faced a number of legal issues over his retention of gifts. The issue also led to his disqualification by the electoral body in the past. Last month, the PTI chief was indicted in the case.

During the hearing today, the court agreed to extend its orders upon the request of Imran’s lawyer, Khawaja Haris, who sought a week-long adjournment in the proceedings. However, the ECP counsel urged the court to revoke its order that prevents the trial court from taking action against the ex-PM.

Haris brought to the court’s attention that he had filed a petition challenging the jurisdiction of the trial court.

Following the arguments, Justice Farooq adjourned the hearing until June 14.

Opinion

Budgeting without people

Budgeting without people

Even though the economy is a critical issue, discussions about it involve a select few who are not really interested in communicating with the people.

Editorial

Iranian tragedy
Updated 21 May, 2024

Iranian tragedy

Due to Iran’s regional and geopolitical influence, the world will be watching the power transition carefully.
Circular debt woes
21 May, 2024

Circular debt woes

THE alleged corruption and ineptitude of the country’s power bureaucracy is proving very costly. New official data...
Reproductive health
21 May, 2024

Reproductive health

IT is naïve to imagine that reproductive healthcare counts in Pakistan, where women from low-income groups and ...
Wheat price crash
Updated 20 May, 2024

Wheat price crash

What the government has done to Punjab’s smallholder wheat growers by staying out of the market amid crashing prices is deplorable.
Afghan corruption
20 May, 2024

Afghan corruption

AMONGST the reasons that the Afghan Taliban marched into Kabul in August 2021 without any resistance to speak of ...
Volleyball triumph
20 May, 2024

Volleyball triumph

IN the last week, while Pakistan’s cricket team savoured a come-from-behind T20 series victory against Ireland,...