Imran Khan gets protective bail in 9 cases
- Agreement reached between PTI and Punjab government
- PTI Chairman Imran Khan leaves for court
- Court extends the time by 5:30pm for Imran to appear in court
- PTI rally will be held on Monday, March 21
- Shibli Faraz is nominated as a focal person to liaise with the security agencies
PTI Chief Imran Khan was granted protective bail in nine cases by Lahore High Court on Friday.
Out of the nine cases, five were registered in Islamabad and four in Lahore
The bail was granted till next March 24 in Islamabad’s cases and till March 27 in Lahore’s cases.
The court also asked Imran to cooperate with the police and stopped police from taking action against him.
Imran Khan’s arrival
Imran Khan arrived in Lahore High Court to appear in a case regarding protective bail on Friday evening. He was accompanied by a large number of PTI supporters. He had vowed to appear in court despite skipping the hearing in previous hearings.
The court had ordered that all unconcerned people remove themselves from court premises. However, the large number of PTI workers present made the execution of this order difficult.
Footage showed that many supporters of PTI were moving alongside the vehicle of Imran at Zaman Park in Lahore.
Similar developments were shared by PTI leaders of Twitter.
“Imran Khan is setting a high example of rule of law by appearing in courts despite the assassination attack and serious security concerns,” PTI leader Iftikhtar Durrani said in a tweet.
In view of the movement of Pakistan Super League teams, the court ordered Imran to appear in court by 5:30pm.
Punjab government, PTI reach agreement
The Punjab government and the PTI have reached an agreement to resolve the Zaman Park crisis and to reschedule the Mina-e-Pakistan rally of the PTI. The Lahore High Court had ordered the two parties to find an amicable solution by 3pm.
The court on Friday also extended the ban on police action against Zaman Park till 3pm today.
Aaj News reported that under the agreement the PTI has promised it will cooperate with the police to execute arrest and search warrants.
Following are the terms of agreement between the parties:
The PTI leadership agreed that the guidelines approved by the provincial cabinet for the provision of security dated March 7, 2023 shall be adhered to and courted for the purpose of security.
Guidelines contained shall be followed in “letter and spirit” and as a result of which an application for provision of adequate security shall be presented to the competent authority by the PTI leadership.
PTI has nominated Shibli Faraz as a focal person to liaise with the security agencies for the purpose of provision of security.
PTI leadership has volunteered that an internal audit of private security personnel, stationed within the precinct of Zaman Park, shall be carried out at their end and if required deputy inspector general of police (security) on behalf of the provincial administration shall also be taken on board “as and when required”.
PTI rally, which was scheduled for Sunday, March 20, has been shifted to Monday, March 21.
An “appropriate application” for the holding of jalsa will be presented to the deputy commissioner.
Advance notice of at least five days shall be given to the provincial administration as and when a jalsa involving Imran Khan needs to be taken out. In this respect necessary coordination between PTI leadership and DIG Operations Lahore shall take place is required.
However, the above is without prejudice to the election campaign that the PTI leadership intends to undertake and which shall be undertaken in accordance with the code of conduct prescribed by the ECP.
PTI leadership shall facilitate the execution of warrants/search warrants/making of site plan for all aspects of the investigation process with respect to the crime reports registered on March 14 and 15 at Police Station Race Course.
For this, the PTI has nominated Shibli Faraz and Ali Muhammad Khan as a focal person. And, the provincial administration has nominated SSP (Discipline) Imran Kishwar as the focal person.
The cooperation will also extend to the cases registered on March 14 and 15, when PTI supporters clashed with police and Rangers. The Punjab police have registered cases against PTI workers for damaging police vehicles and public properties and clashing with the personnel of LEAs.
PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry along with Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, and Azam Swati, had talks with Punjab IGP Usman Anwar.
To implement the agreement, SSP Imran Kishor will be the focal person for the police while Shibli Faraz and Ali Khan are being made the focal persons for the PTI.
Earlier, LHC judge Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh asked the Punjab police and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to discuss a possible solution to the Zaman Park crisis.
He said this while hearing multiple petitions filed by the PTI and the police. The judge also asked both parties to discuss the matters of security and implementation of the notice.
Fear of mass arrests
The PTI objected to the police’s request to arrest the people involved in clashes at Zaman Park. The party contended that the police had named “unidentified people” in the first information report (FIR) and they wanted to make the people part of the investigation on the basis of their mobile location.
“Suspects should be named so that they can approach the courts,” PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry said, “the police want to arrest the whole city.”
Fawad told reporters outside the court that the police had registered cases against 3,000 people.
Later, the judge asked the police and the PTI to sit together and debate it. He adjourned the hearing of the case till 3pm.
PTI willing to reschedule Minar-e-Pakistan rally
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said in the court that their party was ready to reschedule the Minar-e-Pakistan rally for Monday. The original plan was to hold the rally on Sunday.
“A notice will be issued five days before the rally,” he said and urged that their workers should not be arrested and the request should be withdrawn.
“People have been injured from both sides,” he said.
The court remarked that an action should be taken against those who committed “injustice,” regardless of their affiliation, must be dealt with according to the law. Such people should be identified by camera, he added.
The people from both sides were abused, Fawad said and informed the court that they were filing a protective bail.
“Imran Khan will appear in court,” PTI lawyer Khawaja Tariq Rahim said.
The Punjab IGP admitted that talks were held with the PTI.
The court said there was law for everything and if the police want security it should ask for security as per the policy. It advised the police to take those steps which are applied in civilized societies, adding that containers were used for exports not stopping the people.
The IGP prayed the court to issue a written order if they want to again go for the arrest.
“There was peace for two to three days. You [police] want to arrest whole Lahore by again registering cases. Name the suspects in the case so that they can approach the court,” Fawad said.
PTI lawyer Rahim mentioned the development following the warrants issued for Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah in Gujranwala. “The police reported that he was not traceable,” he said.
The court wondered how 3,000 people would be identified. To this, the IGP replied that geo-fencing and the special department report was available. “It is not necessary to have a picture showing baton or hurling petrol bomb,” the IGP said.
He added that they have to see the mobile service and summon the suspects for the investigation. “We will conduct all the investigation on merit.”
The court asked how it would bring transparency in the arrest. The IGP reiterated that they would ensure merit, saying: “we cannot spare those who hurled petrol bombs.”
The word “unidentified” was very dangerous, the court remarked.
Fawad reiterated that the police should name the suspects.
Advocate General for Punjab Shan Gul agreed with the IGP that an investigation would be conducted. “Why we would arrest someone illegally?” he said.
The court advised that a request should be filed as per the law. The IGP prayed the court to issue orders related to the warrant.
“We have filed a protective bail in the case,” PTI lawyer Rahim said.
Later, the court asked both the parties to discuss the matter and inform the court at 3pm.
Permission sought for access into Imran’s residence
The Lahore High Court was urged to give permission to investigation officers for access into PTI chief Imran Khan’s residence at Zaman Park, said a petition filed by the inspector general of police on Friday.
“Due to the lack of access to Zaman Park, the police are unable to arrest the named accused,” the petition said. “The arrest of those who took the law into their hands and are hiding in Zaman Park is required.”
The development comes after the district and sessions court rejected Imran’s petition seeking the cancellation of arrest warrants on Thursday.
There are reports of the presence of suspicious organisations members, the IG’s petition said, claiming that police vehicles were torched, state machinery was damaged, and petrol bombs were hurled at the police when they tried to enter the residence in their last attempts to arrest Imran.
“Supporters of PTI resisted the police when they reached Zaman Park following the trial court decision. Many policemen were injured after political workers hurled stones at them,” it added.
PTI challenges trial court’s verdict in IHC
Earlier in the day, the former prime minister filed yet another petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging the verdict of the trial court.
Imran urged that the trial court’s order be set aside and his arrest warrants be suspended “till the final disposal of the petition” so that the PTI chief could appear in court on March 18.
‘Judicial process will be followed’
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the government was creating an “environment” in which the PTI chief would be induced to appear in court.
“More than aiming for [Imran’s] arrest, we have to create an environment in which it would be made clear that the court has called you [Imran] and [then] you appear there,” he told Geo News on Friday morning.
He was explaining the government’s strategy behind the recent events.
“The PTI will appear in court on March 18. If he does not appear [in court], then it is possible that we might have to change our strategy a bit,” he said, “we will also make sure that the judicial process is fair,” he added.
More to follow
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