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Tuesday, July 23, 2024  
16 Muharram 1446  

Toshakhana case: Court rejects Imran’s plea against cancellation of arrest warrants

Police failed to arrest him from Lahore, PTI writes to CJP on ‘threats to life’
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses party supporters at Zaman Park in Lahore on March 05, 2023. Photo via Instagram
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses party supporters at Zaman Park in Lahore on March 05, 2023. Photo via Instagram

A district and sessions court in Islamabad has rejected a petition seeking the cancellation of non-bailable arrest warrants for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case.

The court had reserved its judgement on Monday, which was announced in the afternoon. The petition was filed by Advocate Qaiser Imam, Barrister Gohar, and Ali Bukhari in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal.

The Toshakhana case against the former prime minister is scheduled for hearing on Tuesday (tomorrow).

Toshakhana case

An Islamabad district and sessions court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Imran Khan over persistent absences in the Toshakhana case on February 28. Earlier, the court had twice deferred the former premier’s indictment on medical grounds.

Additional District and Sessions Court judge Zafar Iqbal had adjourned the hearing of the case till March 7.

The reference was filed by lawmakers from the ruling coalition, Pakistan Democratic Movement, last year. It alleges that Imran had not shared details of the state gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana (during his time as the prime minister) and proceeds from their reported sales.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) concluded on October 21 that ex-PM Imran had made “false statements and incorrect declarations” regarding the gifts.

The Toshakhana is a department under the Cabinet Division that stores gifts given to rulers and government officials by heads of other governments and foreign dignitaries. According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.

The country’s top electoral authority’s order had said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

“He is for the time being disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or of a Provincial Assembly under any law for the time being in force,” said the law which falls under the Disqualifications for membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).

Later, the ECP approached the Islamabad district and sessions the court with a copy of the reference. It sought proceedings against Imran under criminal law for allegedly misleading officials about the state gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his time as the prime minister.

Court raises objection to Imran Khan’s protective bail

The Lahore High Court has raised an objection to Imran Khan’s protective bail plea in two terrorism cases.

PTI lawmakers Mian Aslam Iqbal and Farrukh Habib secured protective bail in both cases. However, according to the registrar’s office, a copy of the decision of the other accused was not attached in Khan’s application.

The office ordered to attach a copy of the decision of protective bail of both the accused in the PTI chief’s applicants.

Camp set up outside Imran’s residence catches fire

A camp set up outside Imran Khan’s residence at Zaman Park caught fire on Monday morning. The policemen and workers tried to douse the fire with their help and brought it under control.

The cause of the fire could not be known immediately.

The fire engulfed the electric wires and the tent, however, no one was injured. The outdoor power lines were checked after the incident so that any technical fault could be rectified.

Islamabad police make ‘Plan B’ for Imran Khan’s arrest

The Islamabad police have made a “Plan B” to arrest PTI chief Imran Khan, sources in the department said, after they “were unable” to do it on Sunday. They served arrest warrants to the former prime minister to ensure his appearance in court on charges of misusing his office to sell state gifts.

Sources said that the police would come into action as soon as “Imran enters the capital city for hearing of the cases”. Two new cases were filed against him in Islamabad’s Ramna police station on March 2.

Plans have also been made to take into custody some of the “more active” supporters of PTI from the federal capital. Imran’s supporters tried to prevent police entry into his home at Zaman Park, Lahore the other day.

All police stations in the city have been told to prepare lists of workers in advance, they added.

The development comes after claims from the PTI leaders that the police have surrounded Zaman Park and brought in water cannons, shelling, and tear gas as part of its efforts to arrest Imran.

But, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has claimed that it was “not a difficult task” for the government to arrest Imran. The police had only reached the PTI chief’s residence to comply with the court order, he said on Sunday, adding that people sitting outside the residence would not have been a hindrance if the PTI chief was supposed to be arrested.

PEMRA bans Imran Khan from TV for ‘maligning institutions’

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority banned the broadcast of Imran Khan’s speeches with immediate effect on Sunday—a decision which was condemned by many journalists.

“(PEMRA) prohibits broadcast/rebroadcast of speech(s)/press talks (recorded or Live) of Mr. Imran Khan on all satellite TV channels with immediate effect,” the order said.

The ban, it alleged, was placed because the PTI chief has been continuously maligning state institutions and promoting hate speech that could disturb public peace.

“Mr. Imran Khan in his speeches/statements is continuously alleging state institutions by leveling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers.”

The authority was of the view that TV channels that had broadcasted Imran’s recent speeches had “not utilised” the delay mechanism effectively. The ban was placed through Section 27(A) of the PEMRA Ordinance.

“Broadcasting or re-broadcasting or distributing any programme or advertisement if it is of the opinion that such particular programme or advertisement is against the ideology of Pakistan or is likely to create hatred among the people or is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility or endangers national security or is pornographic, obscene or vulgar or is offensive to the commonly accepted standards of decency;” it said.

Any organisations that did not comply with the ban would have their licenses cancelled, it warned.

Imran writes to CJP Bandial

Imran wrote a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Sunday night after consulting his legal team, citing issues of “questionable FIR, threats, and an assassination attempt”.

The PTI chief had expressed such a desire in his address to supporters of the party earlier in the day.

“Despite being a former PM of Pakistan I have not been provided with proper security and my FIR on my assassination attempt was not allowed to be registered by me. I have and continue to maintain that the present PM, Interior Minister, and a senior intelligence agency officer were involved in the failed assassination plot. Subsequent actions including attempts to destroy the JIT report on my assassination lend further credence to my view as to my assassination plotter,” it said.

The election commission of Pakistan had in October found the 70-year-old cricket-hero-turned politician guilty of unlawfully selling gifts from foreign dignitaries.

The Federal Investigation Agency then filed charges against him in an anti-graft court, which last week issued the arrest warrants after Khan failed to appear in court despite repeated summons.

Khan has been demanding a snap election since his ouster from office in a parliamentary vote early last year, a demand that was rejected by his successor Shehbaz Sharif, who has said the vote would be held as scheduled later this year.

He led countrywide protest campaigns to press for an early vote last year and was shot at and wounded at one of the rallies.

Referring to his absence from the court and the shooting incident, Khan said on Sunday: “They (the police) know there is a threat against my life,” adding that the courts did not provide adequate security.

Imran’s aide Fawad Chaudhry said he couldn’t be arrested because he had secured a protective bail from a high court.

Fawad said the government wanted to sow political chaos and avoid an early election by arresting the former premier, who was still popular among the country’s youth and urban voters.

Islamabad police said in a statement that when Imran wasn’t found at his residence in Lahore, they served the arrest warrants. Imran is required to appear in court on March 7. If he fails to do so, police will be required to arrest him and present him to court, according to Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.

More to follow

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