Sun, 26 Mar 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 17 (ANI): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday suspended non-bailable arrest warrants issued for PTI Chairman Imran Khan till March 18, providing him with a chance to appear before the trial court hearing the Toshakhana reference against the former premier, Dawn reported.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq also instructed the Islamabad district and sessions court and capital police to provide adequate security to Imran.

Embroiled in legal complexities, Imran has been resisting arrest in the Toshakhana case and is holed up inside his Zaman Park residence surrounded by hundreds of supporters, who have fought "pitched battles" with the police and Rangers over the past few days, Dawn reported.

The Islamabad police, backed up by their Punjab Police compatriots and the Rangers, arrived at the ex-premier's house on Tuesday to execute non-bailable arrest warrants issued by an Islamabad sessions court for him in the Toshakhana reference, in which he has skipped several hearings.

However, the law enforcement agencies retreated on Wednesday evening, saying that the operation had been paused during the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL).

On Thursday, the Islamabad sessions court, where PTI had gone for the suspension of Imran's arrest warrants, upheld the warrants that it issued, observing that the PTI chief had "challenged the dignity and writ of the state". It also maintained its order to arrest the ex-premier and present him in court by March 18.

Earlier on Friday, the former prime minister filed yet another petition in the IHC challenging the verdict of the trial court. In the plea, Imran prayed that the trial court's order be set aside and his arrest warrants be suspended "till the final disposal of the petition" so that the PTI chief could appear in court on March 18, Dawn reported.

During the hearing, Imran's lawyer Khawaja Haris submitted an undertaking by his client, assuring that the PTI chief would appear in court on March 18.

At the outset of the hearing, the court inquired about the basis on which the trial court rejected the undertaking provided by Imran to which Haris said the trial court stated that non-bailable warrants could not be cancelled.

The lawyer also stated that Imran had security concerns.

"I have been informed by the administration that security arrangements were being made. The trial court judge has also issued orders in this regard and I will ensure this as well," Justice Farooq said.

He also warned that contempt of court proceedings could be initiated against Imran if he violated the undertaking submitted.

"My client will appear in court tomorrow no matter what happens," Imran's lawyer replied.

Subsequently, Justice Farooq suspended Imran's arrest warrants till the sessions court's hearing tomorrow and stopped Islamabad police from "harassing" him.

He also instructed Imran to appear in the trial court on March 18.

Imran is to go to LHC to assure an in-person appearance in the Islamabad sessions court.

Separately, PTI's Musarrat Cheema said that the PTI chief will leave for the high court at 3 pm.

Court to hear Imran's pleas seeking protective bail in 9 cases.

The LHC has accepted Imran's petitions, seeking protective bail on nine first information reports (FIRs) registered against him in Islamabad and Lahore, for hearing.

In an interview with France 24 on Thursday night, Imran asserted that he would appear before the Islamabad sessions court in person on March 18.

"Yes, of course, I'm going to court on the 18th," Imran said when the host asked him if would be going to court tomorrow. "And they knew it."On Friday,'s correspondent present outside Zaman Park said that police were not present in the vicinity, but hordes of PTI supporters outside Imran's house were armed with sticks and stones, prepared for any police operation. (ANI)

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