17 March, 2023
By Hamza Saeed
The Lahore High Court on Friday, granted PTI chairman Imran Khan protective bail in the nine cases against him, including eight which have been filed under terrorism charges.
Five of the cases were registered in Islamabad, with the remaining three in Lahore. A single LHC bench granted Khan protective bail until 27 March in a case at the Sarwar Road police station relating to the death of PTI worker Ali Bilal. The court also sought a report on the cases registered against Imran in Punjab.
Relief by IHC
Earlier, the Islamabad High Court has temporarily suspended the non-bailable arrest warrants issued for Imran Khan, the chairman of the PTI, until March 18. This gives Imran a chance to appear before the trial court, which is currently hearing the Toshakhana reference case against the former prime minister.
The Chief Justice of the IHC, Aamer Farooq cautioned that if Imran failed to adhere to the undertaking, contempt of court proceedings could be initiated against him. In response, Imran’s lawyer assured that his client would appear in court the following day, regardless of any circumstances. The judge has also ordered the sessions court and capital police to provide adequate security to Imran.
Zaman Park’s Pandemonium
This decision comes amidst a tumultuous situation in which Imran has been resisting arrest in the Toshakhana case and is currently sheltered inside his Zaman Park residence in Lahore, surrounded by hundreds of supporters who have been fighting “pitched battles” with the police and Rangers over the past few days.
The Islamabad police, backed up by their Punjab Police counterparts and the Rangers, had arrived at Imran’s house on Tuesday to execute the non-bailable arrest warrants issued by an Islamabad sessions court in the Toshakhana reference.
However, they retreated on Wednesday evening, citing the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL), and the LHC had also postponed the operation.
On Thursday, an Islamabad sessions court upheld the warrants it had issued for Imran, stating that the PTI chief had “challenged the dignity and writ of the state.” The court also maintained its order to arrest Imran and present him in court by March 18.
In response, Imran filed another petition on Friday challenging the verdict of the trial court, praying that the trial court’s order be set aside, and his arrest warrants be suspended until the final disposal of the petition, so that he could appear in court on March 18.
Additionally, Imran planned to go to the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday to assure the judge that he was ready to appear before the Islamabad sessions court, which had issued the non-bailable arrest warrants for him.
The LHC has accepted Imran’s petitions seeking protective bail on nine FIRs registered against him in Islamabad and Lahore for hearing. The situation is evolving, and further developments are expected in the coming days.