Islamabad, MAY 3: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday ordered PTI Chairman Imran Khan to appear in court tomorrow, extending the time by a day after earlier ordering him to appear today.
Earlier today, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq expressed his dissatisfaction over the former premier’s persistent absences in various cases while hearing Imran’s interim bail plea in a case involving murder attempt charges.
On April 18, the IHC had extended Imran’s bail in eight cases — including those pertaining to violence outside the Federal Judicial Complex — till May 3.
Accepting the PTI chairman’s request for a bail extension and exemption from court appearance that day, Justice Farooq had made it clear then that Imran’s interim bail in all the cases will be cancelled if he did not appear in court on May 3.
Later today, a two-member division bench comprising Justice Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb heard Imran’s bail plea in seven cases.
Advocate Naeem Haider Panjhuta, Barrister Salman Safdar and Advocate Faisal Chaudhry appeared as Imran’s counsel while Islamabad Advocate General Jahangir Jadoon was also present in the court.
One of the cases pertains to making allegations against top officers of state institutions and inciting mutiny — in which he was granted protective bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on April 14.
During the hearing, the IHC CJ cited his prior warning of cancelling bail upon Imran’s failure to appear. He told Imran’s lawyers that their client had till tomorrow to appear, warning that his interim bail would be cancelled otherwise.
Advocate Safdar asked the court for three to four days’ time to be granted to the PTI chief. However, the IHC rejected the plea and adjourned the hearing till tomorrow.
Murder attempt charges hearing
Hearing Imran’s interim bail plea today in a case involving murder attempt charges filed by PML-N MNA Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha last year, Justice Farooq said, “If the petitioner, Imran Khan, does not appear during court timings [today], will dismiss the interim bail.”
The judge added that the former premier “has made a mockery out of the courts”.
On Oct 23, 2022, Ranjha had lodged a criminal complaint claiming that the shot fired by a KP policeman outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Constitution Avenue on Oct 21, 2022 was “an attempt on his life” allegedly at the behest of Imran.
The disqualification of Imran in the Toshakhana case had sparked protests in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, especially at Faizabad, resulting in the arrest of three people — a PTI lawmaker and his two police guards.
The clash between the protesters and police had started outside the ECP soon after the verdict disqualifying Imran when the KP police guard of MNA Saleh Mohammad fired a gunshot.
Shortly after the court proceedings, PTI Senator Shibli Faraz said in a tweet Imran “respected the courts” and implied that the reason for the PTI chief’s absence was his leg getting “injured again” during his appearance at the LHC yesterday.
He wrote, “Imran Khan’s leg got injured again yesterday at the Lahore High Court due to the jostling brought about because of the lack of security provided by the government.
“Doctors have advised [Imran] to rest for 10 days. Upon recuperating, he will again face the cases filed on political bases. [Imran] Khan sahib respects the courts,” the PTI senator added.
At the outset of the hearing, Justice Farooq asked Advocate Panjhuta about Imran’s whereabouts. The lawyer replied, “He cannot come. [He] has filed an application for exemption [from court appearance today].”
The IHC CJ then asked about the application’s whereabouts to which Panjhuta responded that it had been filed.
Justice Farooq then remarked: “Either we have sunk beneath him or he has risen above us.
“If the petitioner, Imran Khan, does not appear during court timings [today], we will dismiss the interim bail,” he warned Imran’s lawyer.
The IHC CJ proceeded to remark: “[He] has made a mockery out of the courts. A high court has been thought of as a civil court. A mockery has been made out of the courts.”
The court then called a recess in the hearing till Imran appeared in court today.