ATC extends Imran's bail till September 20

PTI chief's counsel argued that Section 161 doesn't state that a perpetrator has to appear before the JIT


​ Our Correspondents September 12, 2022
PTI chief Imran Khan arrives at the ATC Islamabad for hearing of his bail plea in terror case on Sept 12, 2022. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in the federal capital extended Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan's bail on Monday in the terrorism case against him.

The hearing of the case commenced around 10 am under Judge Raja Jawed Hasan Abbas but was adjourned for an hour after the deposed premier's lawyer Babar Awan requested the court to permit Imran to bring his car inside the premises.

Following the court's permission, Imran left his residence at Bani Gala and appeared before the court at 11 am. PTI leaders Asad Umar, Azam Swati, Faisal Javed and others were also present.

Special Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi also appeared before the court.

As the proceedings resumed, Advocate Awan questioned if the PTI chief’s reply to the court – mentioning that he had submitted more than one – was not included because it was “private”.

He maintained that he was ready to argue if the need occurred and was also ready to give the new prosecutor time if needed.

The prosecutor, however, stated that Imran had failed to appear before the joint investigation team (JIT) despite being issued three notices.

Read Imran Khan again fails to show up at JIT

The judge asked Awan if Imran had received the notices, to which he said that Section 161 doesn't state that a perpetrator has to appear before the police for investigation.

“In the previous hearing also, the court's investigator said that Imran Khan did not appear, however, this is not written anywhere [that the perpetrator has to appear],” he reiterated.

He furthered that the ex-PM’s statement was written down and not brought on record and asked why the police did not write the statement in the supplementary presented to the court.

Awan stated that the police themselves had said that there was a threat to Imran's life from banned organisations. "What if Imran went to the police station [for investigation] and was killed?" he questioned.

He maintained that "we offered the police to sit at the court this morning and ask the questions they have" but to no avail, adding that “the court can issue a show-cause notice to the police officer for faulty investigation.”

Read Imran Khan again fails to show up at JIT

Awan highlighted that even if the accused confessed to the police, it would have no legal status, and questioned why they had made it a condition for Imran to be included in the investigation.

He further claimed that a written statement was submitted twice to the JIT and the investigating officer.

“I offered [to the police] without asking Imran Khan that if an investigation is to be done, then do it under judicial cover,” the lawyer said. “They should decide if they want to investigate or harass,” he added.

Discussing Imran's speech, during which the PTI chief had claimed that "he would not spare the inspector general and deputy inspector general of Islamabad", the lawyer questioned where the "terrorism" in this statement was.

To which, the judge replied that Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi would pinpoint it.

Judge Abbas questioned why the lawyer was “engaged” after several days had passed. To this, the prosecutor stated that the court was “now discussing” the accused joining the investigation.

“It is up to the JIT or the investigating officer to decide what the mode of the investigation will be,” the prosecutor said.

The lawyer asked the court if anyone’s speech had ever been banned in the history of Pakistan.

Subsequently, the hearing was postponed till September 20 and Imran Khan's post-arrest bail was extended.

'Mockery of terrorism laws'

Talking to media personnel outside the court, the PTI chief reiterated that in his speech during a rally last month he had stated to take “legal action” against the judge who sent party leader Shahbaz Gill on remand.

About Gill, Imran said that he was a university professor who was not a "terrorist or a murderer", but was tortured in “every way” in the prison, a claim which the ousted premier said was “verified by the jail superintendent”.

He claimed that Gill was then sent back in remand to those who had tortured him.

“They have made a mockery of the terrorism laws of the country," he said.

"Across the world, the front page [of newspapers] says that Imran Khan has a terrorism case against him because he called for legal action after custodial torture”, he said, adding that in that case "anyone could be a terrorist" if they claim to take legal action against sending a person back on remand despite torture.

He maintained that this was “contempt” of Pakistan and of its terrorism laws.

“What pains me the most is that the matter of the custodial torture [on Gill] has been left behind. A matter which is condemned across the world,” he added.

Earlier, while talking to media personnel outside the court prior to the hearing, Imran said that he was “very dangerous”.

He also told a journalist to not compare him to the “terrorist" MQM founder and “thieve Nawaz Sharif”.

COMMENTS (1)

Aziz Ur Rahman | 2 months ago | Reply

Let the man be brought before the JIT by force of law That seems to be the only alteranative to teach him a good lesson for the future

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