- PTI chairman gets bail in civil and terrorism cases.
- Police allowed to investigate March 14, 15 events.
- Petition against Zaman Park operation wrapped up.
LAHORE: In a major relief for Imran Khan, the Lahore High Court (LHC) Friday approved protective bails of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman in eight terrorism cases and one civil case — a total of nine — after he appeared before the court in person.
The PTI chief had approached the LHC earlier in the day to seek protective bail in nine cases. Five of those cases are registered in Islamabad and four in Lahore.
A two-member bench comprising Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh and Justice Farooq Haider conducted the hearing on bail pleas filed against the cases that are lodged under terrorism sections.
For the five cases in Islamabad, the court granted bail to Khan till March 24 and for the three cases in Lahore, he received bail for 10 days (March 27).
Justice Sheikh also heard the bail pleas that the former prime minister filed against the civil cases registered against him, in which he approved the PTI chief’s protective bail till March 27.
The high court has also granted police access to Zaman Park, Khan’s residence in Lahore, for investigating the incidents that transpired on March 14 and March 15 — when clashes left several injured.
The court also wrapped up PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry’s plea against the operation at Zaman Park and ordered the party to ensure it cooperates with the authorities.
Hundreds of PTI supporters accompanied Imran Khan when he visited the high court, while authorities also allowed his bulletproof vehicle to enter the court premises.
At Khan’s Zaman Park residence — which became a battleground on Tuesday — workers shielded the party chairman’s home to thwart his possible arrest. Later, the situation was calm as the Islamabad High Court restricted police from arresting him in the Toshakhana case.
The legal proceedings against Khan began soon after he was ousted from Prime Minister’s Office in a parliamentary vote early last year. Since then, he has been demanding a snap election and holding nationwide protests, and was shot and wounded in one of those rallies in Wazirabad on November 3.
Incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has rejected Khan’s demands, saying the election would be held as scheduled later this year.
Khan’s counsel told the court that his client does not have the details of all the cases. In response, Justice Sheikh said that the LHC cannot give the PTI chief blanket bail and it will only consider those cases against which the pleas have been filed.
Khan intervened and said he was confused as numerous cases have been filed against him. “When I get bail in one case, another is there waiting for me.” He added that an “unprecedented” attack was launched on his house.
Justice Saleem told Khan that he should have cooperated with the system and asked the PTI chief to review his actions.
Khan said that he wanted the case filed in the lower court against him to be shifted to another court as it was a “death trap”. He said that he asked authorities for providing him with adequate security.
At this, Justice Saleem said: “Khan sahab, the case has been mishandled at your end.”
The PTI chief then lamented that “94 cases” have been filed against him and if six more were to be lodged, then they would hit 100. “This will be a non-cricket century.”
The court then granted bail to Khan in cases filed in Islamabad till March 24 and in the cases filed in Lahore, he received bail till March 27.
Zille Shah murder case
During the hearing, Khan’s counsel Azhar Siddique asked the LHC to grant Khan protective bail so he can appear before relevant courts, while he noted the plea in the Toshakhana case is ineffective.
The lawyer noted that Khan needs a 10-day protective bail plea in the Zille Shah murder case which has been registered at Lahore’s Sarwar Road Police Station.
At this, the court granted protective bail till March 27.
The lawyer then urged the court that no action should be taken against the PTI chief until he receives the details of the cases against him.
The federal government’s lawyer told the court that he does not have details of the cases lodged against Khan in other provinces. “For this, the court will have to issue notices.
Then Punjab government’s lawyer sought time for providing the complete records of the cases lodged against Khan.
After the arguments, the high court sought the records of all the cases registered and restricted authorities from taking disciplinary action against Khan till Tuesday next week.
The Punjab Police had also filed a plea in the high court for allowing the law enforcers to investigate the events that transpired on March 14 and 15 — when the authorities and PTI went face-to-face.
At the hearing, the PTI chief’s lawyer told the court that the police can come and investigate, but SSP Zaman Park should not visit the place with a huge force.
Justice Sheikh asked the lawyer whether he could control the investigation. After this, Khan’s counsel said that the investigation officer may come to Zaman Park and investigate.
The high court then allowed the investigation officer to visit Zaman Park and probe in line with the law.
Zaman Park operation
During the case’s hearing, Justice Sheikh said the court issued the summons in line with the law and a perception is being created that the state’s writ is being ignored.
“Such problems should not arise again,” the judge said.
In response, Khan told the judge that his party’s name includes “insaf (justice)” and added that he was aware of March 18, but the police came prior to that date.
“Their force came in such huge numbers; there is no precedence to the attack that occurred at my house,” the former prime minister said, claiming that he was sure that the police did not come to take him to Islamabad, but Balochistan.
Khan’s lawyer asked the judge about the status of a case that has been filed against Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. At this, Justice Sheikh said that when the case is presented before him, he will let him know.
The judge then wrapped up Fawad Chaudhry’s plea against the police operation at Zaman Park and told the PTI to cooperate with the authorities.
Imran Khan surpasses political rivals in popularity survey: Miftah
- Miftah, Abbasi, Khokhar testing waters for launch of a political party.
- Khokar is more keen to launch the party than the other two.
- There is space for launching a new political party, they believe.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Miftah Ismail has said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had surpassed all political leaders in popularity in a recent opinion poll, The News reported on Wednesday.
Miftah along with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Mustafa Khokhar, who had earlier come up with the idea of seminars on “Reimagining Pakistan”, is also presently testing waters for the launch of a political party.
Miftah told The News no decision has been taken as yet, but presently they are seriously thinking on the issue.
He disclosed that they had also done a public opinion survey in July this year, which showed Imran way ahead of all in popularity.
What Abbasi said about his political future in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and about the need for a new political party is part of the trio’s strategy to test the waters before reaching a final decision.
Abbasi, Miftah, and Mustafa are presently discussing the launch of a political party with different people besides encouraging discussion on the issue in the media and social media to assess whether it is a doable option.
Among the three, Khokar is more keen to launch the party than the other two who are not fully clear as yet whether they should do it or not.
All three, according to Miftah, agree there is space for launching a new political party in the present political situation. The question, he said, remains whether they have the capacity to attract people to join a new political party.
Through a leading entity, conducting public opinion polls, Miftah said they have also got a survey done to assess the popularity of different political parties and leaders. Their reading of the survey report made them reach the conclusion of a need for a new political party.
The three believe a significant number of voters, who are presently inclined towards Imran Khan and PTI for their rejection of PML-N, can be attracted by a new political party because neither the staunch supporters of Imran Khan nor of Nawaz would vote for any other political party.
In view of the post-May 9 difficult situations faced by Imran Khan and his party, the PTI, it is believed the new political party may attract significant voters (not the staunch supporters) of the PTI, who would never vote for PMLN or other political party in Punjab.
Among the three, Khokhar, left the PPP after the party’s leadership objected to his certain statements criticising powerful quarters. Miftah got the cold shoulder from the PML-N top leadership for publicly defending his economic solutions, which are different from that of Ishaq Dar’s.
Miftah also criticised Dar’s policies as finance minister and argued that he too was criticised as finance minister by Dar. However, his criticism of Dar’s policies has made him an alien to Sharifs.
Abbasi has started distancing himself from the PML-N top leadership for the last several months. The PML-N top leadership was keen not to let Abbasi drift from them, but the latter sounded dissatisfied with the politics of all the three leading political parties including PML-N.
Abbasi also did not show his keenness in the PML-N ticket for the next elections, while he had already declined to continue as senior vice-president of the party after Maryam Nawaz was announced as senior vice-president and chief organiser of PML-N.
On the direction of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam had visited Abbasi at the latter’s residence in Islamabad to convince him not to leave the office of senior vice-president of PMLN. Shahid had politely declined. Now, he appears to be quitting the PML-N anytime.
What will happen when Nawaz Sharif lands in Pakistan?
- Nawaz Sharif to attend rally on Oct 21, appear before court the next day.
- “Consultations being held on seeking protective bail from another court.”
- Dastagir adds that Nawaz can get nation out of difficulties even today.
LAHORE: The legal minds of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are holding consultations on challenges party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif faces upon his return to the country, it emerged on Tuesday.
Speaking to Geo News, former federal minister Khurram Dastagir said that Nawaz will go to attend a rally at Minar-e-Pakistan after landing at the Lahore airport on October 21 and will appear before a court the next day.
However, he added, the party is holding discussions on legal matters for the intervening period between his arrival and appearance before the respective court and consultations are being held on seeking protective bail from another court [to avoid arrest].
The former prime minister has been in London since November 2019 after he left the country for medical treatment. He was serving a jail term in corruption cases when the Lahore High Court (LHC) allowed him to seek treatment from abroad.
On Monday, Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti created a stir when he said that the PML-N supremo would be arrested upon return but backtracked his remarks following a strong response from the party.
The PML-N is preparing for a grand reception for Nawaz and plans to hold a massive rally of 1 million people in their stronghold — Lahore.
Dastagir, while responding to a question, said that the former premier had gone abroad on the permission granted to him by two courts and would enter with their approval.
“An appeal is pending before a court and Nawaz Sharif will pursue it upon return,” he said.
The former minister added that people should understand that those responsible for the corruption are those who have been doing political engineering since 2014.
“The situation was bad in 2013 but Nawaz Sharif brought the country out of the worst situation and even today, he can get the nation out of these difficulties.”
To a question, Dastagir said the 15-party coalition is responsible for the successes and failures of the 16-month government.
“PML-N’s 16-month performance is a story of pulling the country out of crises,” he added.
When asked about the reports of the formation of a new political party, he responded, “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should have told that there is peace in Karachi today and credit goes to the PML-N.”
Referring to the spike in militancy in the country, the PML-N leader said the terrorism that is increasing today is because of Imran Khan and Arif Alvi who offered amnesty to the Taliban in 2021.
About a rumoured “secret” meeting of Shehbaz Sharif earlier this month, he said, “I do not know about the meeting in Gujranwala, I cannot deny or confirm it.”
Senate committee recommends ECP hold polls within 90 days
- Committee recommends ECP announce polls schedule at earliest.
- ECP official says preliminary delimitations will be published on Sep 27.
- About 60 days are required for filing and disposal of representations, ECP.
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct elections within 90 days by reducing the time for filing representations for delimitation from 30 to seven days, The News reported.
In a meeting presided over by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Taj Haider, the committee also drew the electoral body’s attention towards its constitutional obligation of holding polls in the context of the National Assembly’s dissolution.
The Senate panel recommended that the commission announce the schedule of the election at the earliest to ensure clarity on the uncertainty around conducting elections.
Briefing the committee on the polls-related matters, ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan said the preliminary delimitations will be published on September 27.
However, he explained a period of approximately 60 days will be required for filing and disposal of representations.
He told the committee that some 91,809 polling stations were to be established out of which 49,919 had been designated as sensitive or highly sensitive.
He pointed out that out of the 49,919 polling stations, 17,411 had been categorised as highly sensitive and another 32,508 as sensitive while 41,809 (around 45%) were designated as normal.
He contended that the general election will encompass 266 National Assembly constituencies and 593 provincial assemblies’ constituencies. Moreover, he noted around 1 million polling staff will be required for the upcoming general election.
The committee inquired about the methods for the consolidation of results. The secretary of ECP said electronic devices having ECP-developed software will be used to send snapshots of Form-45 to returning officers and software was also equipped to keep track of time and place of snapshots in order to ensure the legitimacy of elections.
Regarding the use of funds for development schemes, Senator Haider emphasised that funds should be allocated to the approved schemes. The secretary ECP explained that there was no ban on development schemes approved prior to August 15.
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