LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court on Friday confirmed the pre-arrest bail of PTI founder Imran Khan in four cases pertaining to the murder of Zille Shah, attack on police outside Zaman Park, and torching of PML-N offices in Model Town and a container at Kalma Chowk on May 9, 2023.

In his arguments against the bail petitions, Special Prosecutor Rana Shakil said the former prime minister was the mastermind and prime suspect of the May 9 attacks on army installations. He alleged that Mr Khan incited his workers to attack the civil and army properties.

The prosecutor also read out statements of witnesses to the court.

Judge Arshad Javed asked the prosecutor as if the PTI founder personally made any post on Twitter, now X, provoking his workers for attacks on army installations.

Defence counsel says police stations have become a ‘hub of fake cases’ against PTI founder

The prosecutor said that before his arrest, Mr Khan had been making the minds of party workers to take to streets against the state institutions in case of his arrest.

Barrister Salman Safdar, the counsel for the PTI founder, denied charges against his client, saying police stations had become a permanent source of registering false cases against the PTI leadership. He said that Racecourse police station was one of them, as it registered a fake case relating to the death of Zille Shah, a PTI worker.

He said party workers staged peaceful protests against the arrest of ex-premier who was in the custody of NAB at the time of the protests. He said the trial court previously granted pre-arrest bail to Mr Khan on merit but later dismissed the same on the ground of his non-appearance following his conviction in the Toshakhana case. He asked the court to confirm the bail of Mr Khan.

The judge confirmed the pre-arrest bail of Mr Khan in all the four cases and directed the petitioner to furnish bail bonds of Rs500,000 in each case.

The judge extended the pre-arrest bail of Mr Khan in cases of attacks on the Jinnah House, Shadman police station and Askari Tower till March 7.

Last week, the judge decided to hear the bail petitions of Mr Khan without his virtual attendance from Adiala jail.

On Aug 11, 2023, an ATC dismissed the pre-arrest bail of Mr Khan over his non-appearance as he was jailed following his conviction in the Toshakhana case.

Later, the Lahore High Court, on a petition of Mr Khan, set aside the decision of the ATC and restored his bail petitions. The high court also directed the trial court to decide the bail petitions afresh on merit.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2024

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