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IHC: Imran Khan bound to appear before NAB ‘whenever required’

Says IO will be able to approach court to recall bail if petitioner obstructs investigation process
Police cammandos escort former PM Imran Khan (C) as he arrives at the high court in Islamabad on May 12, 2023. AFP
Police cammandos escort former PM Imran Khan (C) as he arrives at the high court in Islamabad on May 12, 2023. AFP

PTI chief Imran Khan was bound to appear before the anti-graft body in the Al-Qadir Trust case investigation ‘whenever required’, the Islamabad High Court said on Saturday.

“It goes without saying that the petitioner shall participate and cooperate in the investigation and shall appear before the investigation officer as and when required,” said the detailed judgment order authored by the division bench.

“In the event the petitioner obstructs the process of investigation, the investigating officer would be at liberty to apply to this court to the recall of this interim bail.

A two-member comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz of the IHC approved the bail petition of Khan and ordered the NAB prosecutor and Khan’s lawyer to prepare for the next hearing.

The bench also ordered that the former prime minister should not be arrested in any case registered after May 9—the day when he was taken into custody by paramilitary forces from the premises of IHC—till May 17.

Khan was granted bail until May 31, 2023, after submitting two surety bonds worth Rs1,000,000 to the court.

NAB Deputy Director Mian Umer Nadeem is the investigation officer in the case. When the court asked him whether he had questioned the PTI chief after his arrest on May 9, Nadeem replied in affirmative but he questioned him off and on. He did not confront the petitioner with any document while in custody, it added.

The question was asked during the proceedings on Friday after NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Khan said that “serious allegations” were made against Khan. “All co-accused other than the petitioner had participated in the inquiry/investigation,” he said and accused the PTI chairman of deliberately avoiding the investigation.

Khawaja Harris, Khan’s counsel, contended that the call up notice sent by NAB on March 02 did not fulfill the requirements of Section 19(e) of the NAO which provided that “any person called to provide information in relation to an offence alleged to have been committed under this ordinance, shall be informed if he is an accused person or otherwise, an if the person is alleged to have committed an he shall be informed of the allegations against him in such manner as would enable him to file his defence.”

Harris claimed that the petitioner did not shy away from participating in the investigation. He was of the view that his client ought to be given more sufficient information.

The advocate general Islamabad and deputy attorney general “were in unison” on their submission that the federal government had, in exercise of its powers under Article 245(1) of the Constitution, called upon the armed forces to act in aid of civil power, the court could “not entertain the instant writ petition and/or grant any relief to the petitioner against his impending arrest”.

The order said: “We are of the prima facie view that the assertions made by the advocate general as well as additional advocate general that no-writ petition of any nature could be entertained by the court after the issuance of the said order dated May 5, 2023 is regressive is nature and amounts to the suppression of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.”

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