PESHAWAR: A single-member Peshawar High Court bench on Friday granted protective bail to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s secretary general and nominee for the prime minister’s office, Omar Ayub Khan, in two dozen cases registered against him in different parts of the country.

Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan declared that Mr Omar, who had been absconding from law for many months, should not be arrested in those cases until March 16 and that he should appear before the relevant courts by then.

The bench also directed the petitioner to furnish two surety bonds of Rs100,000 each to claim protective bail.

Mr Omar, who is an MNA-elect from Haripur district, had filed 24 petitions under Section 498 of the Coder of Criminal Procedure for transit or protective bails in those cases so that he could appear before the relevant courts to claim relief.

PHC asks PTI leader to appear before relevant courts by March 16

Lawyers Babar Awan, Mohammad Muazzam Butt, Syed Sikandar Hayat Shah, Naumanul Haq Kakakhel and others appeared before the court for the petitioner.

Mr Awan said the petitioner was named in scores of “concocted” cases mostly registered after the countrywide protests on May 9 against the arrest of PTI founder Imran Khan.

He said 13 cases were registered against his client in Rawalpindi, four in Lahore, three in Attock, two in Islamabad and one in Gujranwala. The lawyer said those cases were mostly registered under different provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act.

He requested the bench to grant transit bail to the petitioner for eight weeks insisting there were so many cases and the petitioner had to approach the relevant courts in different parts of the country for relief.

When the bench asked additional advocate general Danyal Asad Chamkani about his opinion on the matter, he replied that it was up to the court to provide appropriate time to the petitioner.

The AAG opposed the grant of two months’ time to the petitioner and said a month’s time would be enough.

Counsel for the petitioner requested the bench to order authorities not to arrest their client over nomination in supplementary documents apart from FIRs.

Mr Omar told reporters afterwards that he had been victimised and fabricated cases were registered against him due to which he couldn’t even attend the burial of his father.

He said he was thankful to the high court and its chief justice for the relief.

“After getting protective bail, I can attend the National Assembly session for oath-taking as well as the election of the speaker, deputy speaker and the prime minister,” he said.

The PTI leader said as he was away, his close relatives were arrested and party workers were harassed.

He said the policemen went to the graveyard of his ancestors to ensure he doesn’t attend the funeral of his father.

On the occasion, Mr Awan said the people’s mandate for the PTI was stolen through massive rigging in general elections.

He said the US, Australia and some European countries had questioned the transparency and fairness of polls and would raise questions if the PML-N formed the government in the centre.

To a question, the PTI lawyer said he would ask Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman whether he considered the PML-N government in the centre legitimate and whether he had been increasing his “rate” through such statements.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2024

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