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Imran Khan’s arrest warrant in judge threatening case suspended

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  • Arrest warrant suspended till March 16. 
  • Court had ordered police to produce Khan before it by March 29.
  • Islamabad police team in Lahore to execute arrest warrant. 

ISLAMABAD: A district and sessions court suspended on Tuesday Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan‘s arrest warrant issued against him in the case regarding his controversial remarks against a female judge during a rally in Islamabad till March 16. 

The development came after the former prime minister filed a petition in the court challenging the arrest warrant. His petition was heard by additional sessions judge Faizan Haider Gillani. 

A day earlier, senior civil judge Rana Mujahid Rahim had issued Khan’s non-bailable arrest warrant for repeatedly failing to appear before the court after which a police party from the federal capital flew to Lahore by helicopter to arrest the PTI chairman.

Khan skipped the hearing and filed an exemption plea from physically appearing before the judge, requesting permission for joining the court proceedings virtually via video link.

The court had dismissed the deposed premier’s plea — whose government was ousted from power after a no-confidence motion in April last year — and ordered the police to produce Khan before it by March 29.

Today’s hearing

At the outset of the hearing, the former premier’s legal team — comprising lawyers Naeem Haider Panjotha and Intezar Haider Panjotha — challenged the arrest warrants on Khan’s behalf. 

Imran Khan’s counsel, when presenting their arguments, said the provisions imposed on the PTI chief are all bailable.

Judge Gillani asked if bailable arrest warrants were issued earlier to which the lawyer responded in the negative.

The court directed Khan’s lawyers to fix the relevant documents in the case and provide it again as the judge said he was struggling to understand the documents that had been submitted.

The lawyers argued that Khan is a former premier and it is the government’s responsibility to provide him security. “The government has withdrawn security from Imran Khan,” the PTI chief’s lawyer said.

The judge questioned if there was a letter mentioning the withdrawal of Khan’s security and asked the lawyer to provide it by tomorrow (Wednesday). The judge also commented over the start of the former premier’s campaign.

“Imran Khan appeared in the judicial complex,” the lawyer said.

The government prosecutor, in his arguments, said that Khan was also summoned in the Toshakhana case.

During the hearing, the judge remarked that Khan appeared in the judicial complex but not before the katchehri.

“The katchehri was attacked in 2014, did it shift after that?” inquired judge Gillani, adding that the katchehri did not even shift when Imran Khan was in power.

“Tell me about the PTI’s single legal reform,” he added.

The judge said that Khan can come to the katchehri as he has appeared there before as well.

He further remarked that the court called for Khan to give him copies of the case. “The copies of the case are provided to the suspect in a personal capacity and not to anyone else,” he said.

The prosecutor said whether the sections are bailable or not, they are not related to the warrant.

“Security has been retracted from Imran Khan and this is my case,” said Khan’s counsel.

The judge asked the counsel to provide a letter to the court in this regard.

The lawyer pleaded for a date in March, as Khan’s petition to appear via video link has also been submitted in the Islamabad High Court.

“You know what will happen on video link. I’ll give you two months,” the judge said.

The lawyer said he cannot appear due to personal engagements, requesting the court for Thursday’s date.

After this, the court issued notices to the parties and ordered Khan’s lawyers to produce documents related to withdrawal of Khan’s security.

The hearing was then adjourned till March 16.

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PTI received unwelcome respite, according to Rana Sanaullah

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In the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) reserved seat dispute, the government would respect the majority ruling of the Supreme Court, according to PMLN senior leader and advisor on political affairs Rana Sanaullah Khan.

He stated that after examining the decision, the government’s legal team would react appropriately. According to Rana Sanaullah, the legal team would determine whether or not to submit a review petition.

“SIC petitions were rejected but PTI was given that relief which was neither asked in the petition nor contest during the proceeding,” asserted Rana Sanaullah in response to the ruling.

He argued that because parties established administrations with a simple majority, the PMLN-led unity movement did not have a two-thirds majority.

According to Rana Sanaullah, PTI should challenge election tribunal rulings, with the government carrying out the rulings.

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The membership of Sher Afzal Marwat has been suspended by PTI.

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According to sources, PTI officials convened with imprisoned party founder Imran Khan on Thursday to make a decision over Marwat.

The party authorities alleged that Sher Afzal Marwat had been consistently breaching party discipline over the past month.

“In the meeting with Imran Khan, it was mutually agreed that no leader holds a superior position within the party, and any other leaders who deviate from the party’s stance will face similar consequences,” they stated.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has recently issued a show-cause notice to Sher Afzal Marwat due to his irresponsible utterances.

The notice, issued by PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan, requires Marwat to provide an explanation for his utterances within a three-day period. These statements have been considered harmful to the party’s reputation.

The notification declares that making such utterances goes against the party’s code of conduct and contravenes the explicit directives of the party’s founder, Imran Khan, who has underscored the significance of accountable conduct.

Marwat was cautioned that if they fail to react or offer a satisfactory explanation, it could result in additional disciplinary measures.

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Supporting phone tapping for “national security,” Khawaja Asif

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In the continuous fight against terrorism, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif has stated that he is a strong supporter of security agencies’ phone tapping practices.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, particularly party head Omer Ayub, criticized and engaged in contentious arguments following Asif’s statements.

The significance of phone tapping for national security was emphasized by Khawaja Asif in an interview with a foreign media source. “Terrorism is the enemy that we fight. Given the circumstances, I will be in favor of phone tapping,” he said.

Noting that the phone tapping matter is presently being handled through the legal system, he further urged that everyone support the measure. “Phone tapping is necessary for national security,” he asserted.

By highlighting the PTI’s erratic position on the issue, the defense minister also rejected the party’s concerns as hypocritical.

Every action, whether legal and illegal, seemed acceptable to Imran Khan, the founder of the Pakistan Taliban, when he was on good terms with the authorities.” Asif said, “The same thing is hateful to his followers today.”

In order to prevent terrorism and protect national security, Asif emphasized the importance of phone tapping. Under the present conditions, I will be in favor of phone tapping. The fight against terrorism required it, he declared. In these difficult circumstances, he also urged detractors to think about the wider effects of security precautions.

After former prime minister Imran Khan complained about his phone being tapped, Asif hinted that the PTI’s present protests are politically motivated by pointing to earlier instances in which they had a positive relationship with the establishment.

For the purpose of maintaining national security and preventing any criminal activity, the central government granted Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the nation’s premier spy agency, permission to tap phones on July 8. A notification stating that Section 54 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Act 1996 permits ISI to record phone calls has been issued. Anything that falls under the notification category can be recorded by it.

The notice included a call recording feature in addition to the ability to track messages and calls. Subject to the prime minister’s approval, ISI personnel ranked 18th or higher are granted this authority. It will be feasible to record WhatsApp calls, SMS, and other applications in addition to cell calls, the release states.

Notably, on June 30, Justice Babar Sattar of the Islamabad High Court said that it is legally unlawful to monitor civilians in any way in the case of the audio leaks involving the son of former chief justice Saqib Nisar and Bushra Bibi. According to his ruling, the prime minister and the cabinet bear both collective and individual responsibility for the widespread surveillance of four million citizens carried out by the federal government through the system.

The prime minister should acquire intelligence agency reports and bring the issue before the cabinet, the court judgment stated. Furthermore, according to the decision, the prime minister must report to the court on the Lawful Management System within six weeks.

“The prime minister will tell whether the surveillance of citizens is going on against the law and constitution,” the court stated.

Along with identifying who is in charge of the surveillance system that is interfering with citizens’ privacy, he should also disclose who installed the Lawful Interception Management System and mass surveillance. By July 5, all telecom firms were ordered by the court to submit their reports about the Lawful Interception Management System.

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