Court turns down Imran’s bail plea in May 9 cases

Published July 10, 2024 Updated July 10, 2024 05:28am

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday dismissed pre-arrest bail petitions of PTI founder Imran Khan in three cases of May 9 riots, including one registered over an attack on the residence of the Lahore corps commander.

Judge Khalid Arshad announced the short order, which he reserved on July 6 after hearing the final arguments of the prosecution and the petitioner’s counsel. Before announcing the verdict at 7pm, the judge asked about the lawyers of Imran Khan as the prosecution team was present in the court.

The judge was informed that the petitioner’s lead counsel, Barrister Salman Safdar, was in Islamabad and his associate also left the court earlier.

The judge directed the prosecution to contact the legal team of the petitioner and decided that the court would announce a short order due to the absence of the other side. The judge said the detailed verdict will be released on Wednesday (today).

ATC judge approves pre-arrest bail of Omar Ayub, Fawad, Imran’s sisters till 19th

The judge announced the decision dismissing the petitions of Imran Khan seeking interim pre-arrest bail in the Jinnah House, Askari Tower, and Shadman police station attack cases.

During the concluding arguments, the prosecution had equated the May 9 protests to the United States Capitol Hill riots, saying the police required the custody of the former premier to complete the investigation in the three cases.

The attendance of the incarcerated PTI’s founding chairman could not be marked via video link due to “poor internet service” in Adiala jail, Rawalpindi. However, the prosecution on behalf of the jail authorities had confirmed to the court that Imran Khan was imprisoned in the Rawalpindi jail.

Rejecting allegations of conspiracy and abetment, Barrister Salman Safdar had argued that there was no witness to prove that Mr Khan incited violence and questioned how he could have conspired given his custody on May 9 and release on May 11.

He mentioned that Mr Khan condemned the protests and urged his supporters to refrain from violence after his release.

Special Prosecutor Rana Abdul Jabbar stated that a video of Imran Khan was released on social media before he left for the Islamabad court, in which Mr Khan claimed to be fighting for ‘haqeeqi azadi’ (real freedom). The prosecutor argued that in crowd crimes, every individual in the crowd is treated as an accomplice, including those guiding remotely via modern communication tools.

On March 1, another ATC confirmed the pre-arrest bail of Imran Khan in four criminal cases, including the murder of party worker Zille Shah, the attack on police outside Zaman Park, and the torching of PML-N offices in Model Town, and a container at Kalma Chowk on May 9, 2023.

Omar, Fawad get bail

Speaking to reporters outside an ATC in the provincial capital, National Assembly Opposition Leader Omar Ayub criticised the coalition government, saying the decision to allow the spy agency to snoop on citizens would prove suicidal for the Form-47 government and haunt the incumbent rulers in the future.

He said the government committed economic terrorism by presenting the anti-poor budget, fearing that the power tariff might cross Rs100 per unit. The opposition leader pointed out that the government was going to privatise state institutions for Rs30 billion, whereas the value of these institutions was Rs1 trillion. He raised the question about the transparency of the privatisation process of the Pakistan International Airline.

Besides the PTI lawmaker, ex-PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Umar, and the two sisters of Imran Khan appeared before the anti-terrorism court on the expiry of their pre-arrest bail in multiple cases concerning the May 9 violence.

Judge Khalid Arshad extended their bail till July 19 and directed DIG Investigation Zeeshan Asghar to ensure the completion of the investigation without further delay.

Speaking to reporters, former PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry urged JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai to make “a big opposition alliance” which the PTI would also join. The former minister said the integrity and independence of the police, the FIA, and prosecution had been destroyed in the country.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Misery and despair
Updated 12 Jul, 2024

Misery and despair

Is a life lived happily and respectably too much to ask for from your country?
Temporary extension
12 Jul, 2024

Temporary extension

THE cabinet’s decision to allow ‘legal’ Afghan refugees — meaning those with Proof of Registration cards —...
Anti-smog strategy
12 Jul, 2024

Anti-smog strategy

BY acknowledging that smog is a year-round problem, and not just a winter issue, the Punjab government has taken the...
Population crisis
Updated 11 Jul, 2024

Population crisis

Moreover, successful programmes, such as Lady Health Workers, can be utilised to provide information and reproductive health services to women.
Taxing agriculture
11 Jul, 2024

Taxing agriculture

OUR inability to collect sufficient tax revenue is resulting in persistently high fiscal deficits, forcing ...
Negligence at PHOTA
11 Jul, 2024

Negligence at PHOTA

THE impression that the state is being careless towards aspects of organ trade control is damaging. Recent news ...