Imran's plea against arrest in cases registered since May 9 forwarded to LHC CJ

PTI chief skips hearing at LHC over his own application sans protective bail

Rana Yasif May 16, 2023
Former premier Imran Khan at the IHC. PHOTO: PTI Peshawar


The Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Safdar Saleem Shahid sent a plea, filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, to LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti or placing before a larger bench.

The plea seeks details of cases registered against him since May 9 as well as orders preventing his arrest.

Justice Shahid had reserved the decision on the plea, and later announced his decision to send the case file to CJ Bhatti proposing to place it before a larger bench already hearing such cases.

The former premier had been arrested last Tuesday in the Al-Qadir Trust case from the premises of the Islamabad High Court, where he was present for two hearings.

The arrest triggered violent protests, notably, targeting sensitive state and military installations

After his release, Imran called for an investigation into the protests and vandalism that occurred following his arrest, asking Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to lead the investigation and "personally" chair the panel.

All the while, he has denied any involvement in the violent protests.

The government accuses Imran of having planned the attacks on sensitive installations, buildings, ambulances, schools, hospitals, mosques, highways, and national assets.

In response to the PTI chairman’s recent remarks about the violence on May 9, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb stated that previously, Imran had repeatedly threatened with attacks if he was arrested.

She termed Imran’s statement his “confession”, and she repeated that Imran was the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks in Pakistan. “You [Imran] and your planning are behind the desecration of the memorials of martyrs and Ghazis,” she added.

Read May 9 rioters may be tried under Army Act

During the hearing earlier today, Justice Shahid presided over the hearing today as the court heard Imran's application seeking details of all the cases registered against him.

At the outset, the court inquired about Imran's absence from the proceedings. Upon this, Imran's lawyer Barrister Salman Safdar explained that the PTI chief had opted out of attending the hearing as he was not in protective bail wherein attendance is necessary.

"Imran Khan does not have protective bail," he said adding that if the court would so please, the PTI chief would reach the LHC after 11am.

The law officer raised the objection that the petitioner is not present in the courtroom but relief is being demanded in the gab of protective bail. He requested the court to dismiss this petition as non-maintainable.

Imran's counsel reiterated that protective bail was not being sought by the PTI chief. He also requested the court to send the matter before a larger bench that is hearing a similar case.

The law officer contended that Imran was undeserving of relief from the court owing to his past conduct stressing his role in the riots following his arrest.

Barrister Safdar however maintained that Imran was "unaware" of the violence that ensued while he was in custody and that he had since condemned the incidents.

"This court has to protect basic human rights," he argued, "it is the government’s duty to produce the record of the FIRs registered against him."

In his application, Imran has maintained that he has reasons to believe that there is a chance of the Punjab government arresting him and that the cases registered against him are in fact a strategy of "political persecution".

His lawyer also told the court today that Imran has secured bail until May 26 in three cases. He requested the court to prevent the authorities from carrying out his arrest and provide details of the cases registered against him since May 9.

After hearing his arguments, the LHC reserved its verdict on whether to decide the fate of this petition or to send it to the large bench.


The PTI chief had approached the LHC requesting it to direct authorities to provide him a fresh report containing details of all the criminal cases registered against him on or after May 9, the day when he was arrested from Islamabad.

The PTI chairman has also requested the court to order authorities not to arrest him in any case without prior permission of the court. He has nominated Punjab inspector general police (IGP) and the State through Punjab advocate general as respondents in the plea.

In the petition moved through Imran’s counsel Barrister Salman Safdar, the former premier has contended that more than 100 politically motivated and unlawful first information reports (FIRs) have been lodged against him alone.

“All [this] amounts to grave violation of the petitioner’s rights under Articles 4, 9, 10-A and others and consequently through the instant petition, the petitioner seeks the protection of this court from the most audacious assault on the fundamental rights launched by an executive of this country…

“[This assault is launched] in furtherance of the most constitutionally abhorrent objective: to prevent or delay elections required by the Constitution in order to ensure that the largest political party in Pakistan may be prevented from participating or winning such elections,” it said.

Read more Imran gets blanket IHC bail relief

He said the extraordinary nature of the attack on the fundamental rights of the party workers and leaders—their rights to life and liberty, fair trial, dignity and privacy of home, movement, assembly, association, speech and equal treatment guaranteed under different articles of the Constitution means that the intervention of this court is required in order to protect and enforce the said rights and the rule of law.

“The petitioner’s [Imran Khan’s] political struggle has always been to establish democracy and equity of law in the country and to eliminate the menace of corruption,” he noted.

The PTI chief contended that he, his party’s top leadership and workers had been subject to victimisation at hand of the ruling parties who registered false cases against them

He said he had been granted bail in all cases, while he had approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for pre-arrest bail in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation when NAB authorities “attacked” the biometric office at the IHC and illegally and unlawfully arrested the petitioner.

“Around hundred security personnel attacked the biometric room vandalizing and ransacking the room in the court premises in order to execute a warrant of arrest reportedly issued by the NAB authorities.”

He requested the court to order authorities to submit a fresh report containing details of all the criminal cases registered against him on or after May 9, the day when he was arrested from Islamabad.

“The petitioner has learnt that a number of criminal cases have been registered against the petitioner and there is a strong apprehension that [he] may again unjustifiably be arrested in mentioned undisclosed new criminal cases registered on or after May 9, 2023,” he added.

ATC extends Imran's bail

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) extended the pre-arrest bail for Imran Khan till May 19 after it accepted an application submitted on the former premier’s behalf which sought his exemption from a court appearance due to the law and order situation in Punjab.

ATC Judge Ijaz heard the bail petitions in two cases against the PTI chief under anti-terrorism charges including the law and order situation outside his Zaman Park residence and his alleged involvement in Zile Shah’s murder.

In the second round of proceedings, Imran’s counsel Barrister Salman Safdar submitted the application, to which the judge asked where was the law-and-order situation a problem, adding that the situation in Lahore was normal.

He added that they had no justification to prove Imran’s absence.

Imran’s counsel, however, argued that they were ready to mark his attendance through a video-link and that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had accepted their application for exemption in two cases.

Barrister Safdar argued that the PDM was staging protests and there could be scuffles among the workers of the political parties. He said that Pakistan had already lost two former prime ministers.

At which the judge remarked that Imran had appeared before the court twice since he had filed bail petitions.

As the law officer opposed the arguments of the PTI chief’s counsel, Imran’s lawyers implored that he had disowned all the incidents that occurred after his arrest.

After hearing arguments the judge reserved the decision, and later accepted the application.


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