LHC grants Imran bail in 9 FIRs, allows police to conduct probe

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday granted protective bail to former prime minister Imran Khan in nine cases, while also allowing the police to investigate the FIRs against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and others related to clashes between PTI workers and police at Zaman Park.

Meanwhile, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh has directed the federation and all provinces to provide complete details of the FIRs and restrained concerned quarters from taking any coercive measures against Imran Khan until Monday.

The LHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Tariq, heard the protective bail pleas on eight FIRs registered under anti-terrorism charges. The bench granted Imran protective bails in three FIRs registered in Lahore by March 27 and in five lodged in Islamabad by March 24.

The PTI chairman, after leaving his Zaman Park residence in a convoy, had arrived at the LHC for hearing on multiple petitions to seek protective bail in order to get access to relevant courts and details of FIRs registered against him.Later, Justice Tariq granted protective bail to Imran in an FIR registered against him in the Zille Shah murder case. He also disposed of another petition filed against the execution of a non-bailable arrest warrant with the direction to cooperate with the concerned quarters in its execution in accordance with the law.

A petition seeking video link proceedings was dismissed as non-prosecution. Three PTI writ petitions were withdrawn after the PTI and concerned quarters reached agreements.

Division bench

During the proceedings, lawyers representing the PTI argued that they were not provided with any details of the FIRs registered against Imran Khan and others.

They stated that they had filed protective bails in a few FIRs that were available to them. Justice Tariq responded by saying that they would only discuss the FIRs presented before the court.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry argued that the police were trying to arrest thousands of party workers and leaders. He claimed that this was the reason why such FIRs were being registered against them.

On this occasion, Imran Khan took the rostrum to complain about the multiple FIRs that had been registered against him and his party members. He expressed concern that they were spending most of their time in courts instead of focusing on election campaigns.

He also mentioned that his residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park was attacked and that they had lost everything. He praised the Lahore High Court’s intervention in protecting the lives of their workers.

Justice Tariq advised the party to remain within the system, stating that when people step out of the system, things become worse. He emphasised that everything was available within the law.

In response, Imran Khan mentioned that he had reported the attack threats he had received but neither the matter was taken seriously nor was he provided security.

He revealed that there were serious threats in the court which is why he did not visit, but neither was the court changed nor was security provided to him. While PTI believes in the rule of law and respects the courts, Imran expressed his grievances that were not addressed.

Imran mentioned that several cases had been registered against him. He made a light-hearted remark, stating that interestingly, he was nearing a “non-cricketing century”. The lawyers present in the courtroom laughed loudly at the comment.

Single bench

Justice Sheikh, who presided over the case as a single bench, granted Imran Khan protective bail in an FIR registered against him in the Zile Shah murder case. The bail was granted until March 27.

During the arguments that followed the Civil Miscellaneous application of the police, advocate Ishtiaq A Khan contended that they had never obstructed the police from visiting Zaman Park and conducting their investigation.

However, he expressed concern over the way the police had executed the non-bailable arrest warrants and how they might conduct the investigation into the FIRs related to the police clashes with workers. He argued that such methods were unacceptable.

He further suggested that the investigation officer (IO) of the case, along with a few officers appointed by the police, should be allowed to visit, conduct the investigation, and collect evidence. He criticised the practice of visiting along with contingents, stating that it was not admirable.

A lawyer representing the federation stated that they had written to the Regional Police Officers (RPOs) of the provinces to collect the details of the FIRs. He added that the details would be submitted before the court after a few days.

Imran Khan, taking the rostrum once again, spoke out against what he saw as illegal actions by the police and local administration. He cited examples of PTI leaders Azam Swati and Shahbaz Gill, who he claimed were kidnapped and produced in court after a few days.

He expressed concern that if he were arrested, he would be taken to Balochistan. He also alleged that his residence in Zaman Park was attacked as if it was part of Kashmir.


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