Marking an end to the hours-long ruckus created inside the court premises, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday approved Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s protective bail plea in a case pertaining to protests outside the ECP — Election Commission of Pakistan.
After several notices served to Khan, the PTI chairman ‘finally’ appeared before the LHC to present himself in two separate hearings.
The LHC had adjourned the hearing once again till 7:30pm, directing the security officials to pave way for the PTI chief to reach courtroom.
Despite reaching LHC premises the disposed prime minister could not appear before the court as his convoy is surrounded by massive number of party supporters.
The LHC had granted the former prime minister the last few minutes to present himself before the court after the initial deadline of 5pm lapsed, warning lawyers that the judges would leave if the former prime minister won’t reach the courtroom in the given time.
Khan was directed to appear before the court in person by Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh for hearing his protective bail petition in a case pertaining to protests outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The LHC had noted the discrepancy in the documents last week during the hearing of a protective bail plea of Khan, who was unwilling to appear in court due to security concerns.
After multiple adjournments, a two member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) — headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi — resumed hearing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s bail plea.
Advocate Khawaja Tariq Rahim, Khan’s counsel, apprised the bench that the former prime minister was present in the court’s premises and pleaded with the court to mark the attendance of the wounded leader in his vehicle.
At this, Justice Najafi directed the counsel to produce his client before the court as he has reached the court’s premises.
Referring to the rush inside the court’s premises, the lawyer said that Khan’s plaster would damage if someone pushes him.
“Suspect’s appearance in court is mandatory for interim bail,” remarked the judge.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till 7:30pm.
Khan’s counsel, in view of the PTI’s workers massive rush inside the court’s premises, pleaded with the court to mark the attendance of the injured leader in his vehicle but the court turned down the request.
Earlier in the day, when the hearing resumed today after multiple suspensions, Advocate Khawaja Tariq Rahim, counsel for the former prime minister, admitted that the bail petition was not signed by the PTI chief.
Taking note of Imran Khan’s absence despite orders at the outset of the hearing, Justice Sheikh inquired where the PTI chief was as he was asked to appear in court at 2pm.
Khan’s lawyer told the court that his client was on his way and was late due to security issues.
Justice Sheikh told the counsel that resolving the security issues was not his problem and then adjourned the hearing once again.
When the hearing resumed again, lawyer Khawaja Tariq Rahim said that there was traffic on Mall Road which is why the PTI chief was late. He added that the police had communicated to them that Mall Road would remain free from traffic but there was a traffic jam.
The lawyer then told the court that his client does not see himself “bigger than the high court”, adding that the PTI chief will come but arrangements need to be made.
When the judge pressed the counsel to explain the reasons why his client is not appearing, the lawyer said a perception is being created that Imran Khan doesn’t want to appear before the court.
“Let me issue a show cause notice and fix a date after three weeks,” the judge remarked. At this, the counsel said Khan will come tomorrow.
“Not this early,” the judge responded, asking the counsel to let him write down the order as “you are making fun of law”.
The LHC judge noted, “Imran Khan is a leader, a role model and should remain so.”
At this, the counsel promised to produce Imran Khan by 5pm. The judge then said, “This is the last chance for Imran Khan as the court had already granted him concession”.
LHC orders Khan to appear before it on Feb 20
The PTI chief was summoned by the court when it had convened last week and noticed the discrepancy in the petition he had filed.
The former prime minister was summoned by the court when he approached LHC to seek bail in a terror case registered against him over alleged vandalism during the protests in Islamabad against his disqualification by the ECP. However, he was unwilling to appear due to security concerns.
Khan had moved the high court after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad cancelled his bail over non-appearance.
Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh had directed the PTI chief to appear in person in the case but he failed to do so despite multiple adjournments during the last hearing.
During the course of the hearing, Khan’s lawyer Siddique asked the court that he will be withdrawing the petition.
But Justice Sheikh rejected the request as he had noticed that there are different signs of Khan on the affidavit and power of attorney.
The judge then took notice of the different signatures and adjourned the hearing briefly.
When the court reconvened Khan’s lawyer asked for further time. At this, the court adjourned the hearing till February 20 (today).
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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