“Islamabad High Court halts arrest warrant for ex-Pakistani Prime Minister in separate case”
On Friday, the Lahore High Court granted protective bail to former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in multiple cases that had been filed against him earlier in the week.
The decision marks a significant development after several days of a tense standoff between security forces and supporters of Imran Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), outside his residence in Lahore.
The situation had escalated into clashes, adding to the already volatile political climate in the country.
With the grant of protective bail, Imran Khan is now temporarily protected from being arrested in the cases against him.
The bail will remain in effect until the court decides on the merits of the cases. The decision has been welcomed by supporters of Imran Khan and the PTI, who have been protesting against what they see as politically motivated cases against their leader.
The Lahore High Court’s decision has also provided relief to Imran Khan, who had been under considerable pressure from opposition parties and the government.
The cases against him include charges of inciting violence, making provocative speeches, and leading unlawful protests. Imran Khan has denied the charges and called them a political witch-hunt by his opponents.
On Friday, former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived at the Lahore court, accompanied by a large number of supporters, more than an hour after the 5:30 pm (11:30 GMT) deadline to seek protective bail in several cases filed against him in Lahore and Islamabad.
The deadline had been set by the authorities, and the situation had been tense for several days.
Khan’s arrival at the court was a significant development, as he had been under considerable pressure from the government and opposition parties to appear in court and face the charges against him.
His supporters gathered outside the court, chanting slogans and waving party flags, as he entered the premises to seek protective bail.
In a separate development on Friday, the Islamabad High Court decided to suspend an arrest warrant issued against Khan in a corruption case.
The warrant had been issued because Khan had failed to appear in court to answer a case brought by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The case accused him of not declaring gifts received during his time as prime minister from 2018 to 2022, or the profit made from selling them. Khan denies the charges.
Following the court’s decision, Khan’s lawyer, Faisal Fareed Chaudhry, told that they would ensure his client’s appearance in court the next day. The court had ordered Khan to appear before a lower court in the capital.
According to Azhar Siddique, a member of Imran Khan’s legal team in Lahore, Khan sought protective bail against the cases filed against him in Lahore and Islamabad. Siddique explained that seeking bail from higher courts in cases filed in other cities is routine practice.
Our reporter reporting from outside Khan’s residence, stated that four new cases had been registered in Lahore against Khan, related to the resistance his supporters showed towards the police when they attempted to arrest him.
The neighbourhood where Khan’s residence is located had witnessed violent clashes earlier in the week between his supporters and the security forces trying to arrest him in the state gifts case.
The clashes had escalated tensions in the area, leading to a stand-off between the security forces and Khan’s supporters.
The police had accused Khan’s supporters of attacking their personnel and inciting violence. In response, Khan had accused the government of using the police to suppress his political activities and curtail his freedom of speech.
The situation had been tense for several days, with Khan’s supporters staging protests and sit-ins outside his residence to prevent his arrest.
The decision to seek protective bail and approach the courts for legal relief had been a crucial step for Khan and his legal team in the ongoing legal battles against him.
According to PTI leader Musarrat Cheema, Imran Khan had not intended to embarrass the courts and had never shied away from appearing before them.
She explained that Khan’s non-appearance in court was due to his genuine security concerns, as the location of the court was congested.
Khan had requested the possibility of clubbing all the cases together, but has now given an assurance of his appearance in Islamabad on Saturday.
Khan, a former cricket star, revealed that he has been facing a total of 85 cases since his removal from office in a parliamentary vote in April. These cases have been a source of constant legal battles for him and his party.
Khan’s legal team has been actively defending him against the cases filed against him, claiming that many of them are politically motivated and aimed at tarnishing his image.
However, the cases continue to mount, and Khan’s appearance before the courts remains crucial in determining his legal fate.
After being removed from office in a parliamentary vote in April, Imran Khan has been actively holding public rallies to demand immediate national elections. However, his efforts have been met with resistance, and he was shot and wounded at one of those rallies in November.
In an interview, Khan alleged that the people who are trying to arrest him are the same ones who tried to assassinate him.
He believes that those responsible for the attempt on his life are now working to put him behind bars. However, he did not give any names or provide any evidence to support his claim.
Khan’s statement has further fueled speculation about the political motivations behind the cases filed against him.
His supporters have long argued that the cases are part of a larger conspiracy to silence him and his party, while his opponents maintain that the cases are necessary to hold him accountable for alleged wrongdoing.
Despite the mounting legal battles and political tensions, Khan remains a popular figure in Pakistan, with a significant following among the country’s youth.
His supporters see him as a symbol of hope and change in a country plagued by corruption and political instability.