‘Last chance’: LHC directs Imran Khan to appear by 5pm

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday gave Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan the last chance to appear before it today by 5pm.

When the hearing resumed after multiple suspensions, Advocate Khawaja Tariq Rahim, counsel for the former prime minister, admitted that the bail petition was not signed by Imran Khan.

Taking note of Imran Khan’s absence despite orders at the outset of the hearing, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh inquired where the PTI chief was as he was asked to appear in court at 2pm.

Khan’s lawyer told the court that his client was on his way and was late due to security issues.

Justice Sheikh told the counsel that resolving the security issues was not his problem and then adjourned the hearing briefly.

When the hearing resumed again, lawyer Khawaja Tariq Rahim that there was traffic on the Mall Road which is why the PTI chief was late. He added that the police had communicated to them that the Mall Road would remain free for traffic but there was a traffic jam.

The lawyer then told the court that his client does not see himself bigger than the high court, adding that the PTI chief will come but arrangements need to be made.

When the judge pressed the counsel to explain the reasons why his client is not appearing, the lawyer said a perception is being created that Imran Khan doesn’t want to appear before the court.

“Let me issue a show cause notice and fix a date after three weeks,” the judge remarked. At this, the counsel said Imran Khan will come tomorrow.

“Not this early,” the judge responded, asking the counsel to let him write down the order as “you are making fun of law”.

The LHC judge noted, “Imran Khan is a leader, a role model and should remain so.”

At this, the counsel promised to bring Imran Khan by 5pm. The judge then said, “This is the last chance for Imran Khan as the court had already granted him concession”.

LHC orders Khan to appear before it on Feb 20

The PTI chief was summoned by the court when it had convened last week and noticed the discrepancy in the petition he had filed.

The former prime minister was summoned by the court when he approached LHC to seek bail in a terror case registered against him over alleged vandalism during the protests in Islamabad against his disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). However, he was unwilling to appear due to security concerns.

Khan had moved the high court after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad cancelled his bail over non-appearance.

Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh had directed the PTI chief to appear in person in the case but he failed to do so despite multiple adjournments during the last hearing.

During the course of the hearing, Khan’s lawyer Siddique asked the court that he will be withdrawing the petition.

But Justice Sheikh rejected the request as he had noticed that there are different signs of Khan on the affidavit and power of attorney.

The judge then took notice of the different signatures and adjourned the hearing briefly.

When the court reconvened Khan’s lawyer asked for further time. At this, the court adjourned the hearing till February 20 (today).