By Ghulam Haider
The anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad rejected the bail of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan, in a case that was registered against him for protesting outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday.
The court had directed Khan to appear before it by 1:30 pm, but rejected his plea to grant an exemption from personal appearance. The PTI founder was booked in the case last year in October after the Toshakhana verdict was announced by the ECP, sparking countrywide protests.
Imran Khan had been on bail on medical grounds after he was injured in an assassination attempt in Wazirabad during a rally on November 3, 2022. The ATC judge, Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan, announced the verdict after waiting for the PTI chief, who was on interim bail, for more than an hour. However, Khan can challenge the order in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to avoid arrest.
During the hearing, Khan’s lawyer, Babar Awan, highlighted that the Additional Sessions Judge had granted interim bail to the PTI chief until February 27th. Awan requested the court to extend the bail, adding that Khan had tried to come but could not travel. “Imran Khan neither tried running away from the country nor the court,” said Khan’s lawyer.
The judge said that other accused should also be given relief if Khan was given relief for a bullet injury. At this, Awan said that the court should give last chance to his client. “I am willing to submit a surety bond of Rs10,000,” he added. “Let me take instructions to withdraw the bail plea,” said the lawyer. The ATC judge remarked that the court will announce a verdict if the bail petition is not withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the banking court not to issue its verdict on the bail plea of PTI chief Imran Khan until February 22nd. The court had asked Khan to appear before it in the prohibited funding case by 3:30 pm at the expiry of his bail today, but the former prime minister challenged the order in the high court. A two-member bench, comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, heard the PTI chief’s plea.
During the hearing, Khan’s lawyer, Barrister Salman Safdar, told the bench that the banking court had granted interim bail on October 17, 2022. He added that on November 3, 2022 the PTI chief was shot at during the long march in Wazirabad district of the Punjab province. “Exemption was requested six times after the incident and two times before the incident,” said Khan’s lawyer. He added that his client never shied away from appearing in courts, adding that the medical grounds and facts were before everyone.
The court, after hearing the arguments, issued a stay order and barred the banking court until February 22nd from issuing a verdict in this regard. The bench also asked the counsel to submit a fresh medical report of the PTI chief at the next hearing.
At the hearing, Imran Khan’s lawyer argued that his client was over 70 years but was fit as he exercised regularly. He added that it takes three months for a young person to recover in case of a bullet injury. The lawyer also shared the x-rays of the PTI chief.
“We are only asking for three weeks so he can stand without support. If our plea is not heard, then it must be written that our medical [assessment] is not correct,” said Safdar. He also added that the court must also write that