- IHC directs Khan to appear before sessions court on March 13.
- Sessions court also orders PTI chief to appear on same date.
- Ex-prime minister skipped lower court’s hearing despite today.
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday suspended the non-bailable arrest warrants for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan — issued by a local court in the capital in the Toshakhana case.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq accepted the PTI chief’s plea against Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal’s decision and directed Khan to ensure that he appears before the lower court on March 13.
Following the high court’s decision, the sessions court, which was also hearing the Toshakhana case, ordered the former prime minister to appear before it, where he will be indicted.
On February 28, Additional Sessions Judge Iqbal issued the former prime minister’s non-bailable arrest warrants for continuously failing to appear before the court in the Toshakhana case.
Islamabad police then raided Khan’s residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park but returned empty-handed as the law enforcers were informed that the former prime minister “wasn’t present” there.
Khan had then approached the same court for suspending the orders, but Judge Iqbal rejected his plea — prompting the deposed prime minister to move the IHC.
At the outset of the hearing presided by CJ Farooq, Khan’s lawyer Qaisar Imam started his arguments, saying that an attempt on the PTI chief’s life was highly likely during his appearance at the local court.
CJ Farooq remarked that the arrest warrant had been issued to ensure Khan’s presence, not for his arrest. “Imran Khan should have appeared before the court,” the justice said.
He asked Khan’s lawyers to suggest a way to summon the deposed premier to the court. Issuing arrest warrants is the only way in the law to ensure a suspect’s appearance in court, he added
Meanwhile, Khan’s lawyer requested the court to suspend the arrest warrant. At this, the CJ asked what would the suspension do.
“The court is summoning you to conduct a trial. I wouldn’t issue any order that is out of common practice. Imran Khan would have to appear in person for indictment,” he remarked.
CJ Farooq further stated that Khan should appear in the lower court as he has to appear in IHC on March 9.
Lawyer Imam maintained that Khan had serious security threats.
IHC CJ told the lawyers to consult with Khan about his appearance in court. At this, CJ Farooq referred to last week’s appearance of Khan at the Lahore High Court.
“There was a huge crowd. Who knows who has come with what intention,” the justice said, adding that bringing thousands of people would make things worse.
The CJ then asked the lawyer to consult with the PTI chief and adjourned the hearing for 30 minutes.
“Stay fair with the system, don’t ridicule the system,” he remarked while asking the lawyers if he should suspend the trial in the lower court by giving a two months date.
The lawyers appeared in court upon resumption of the hearing for the second time, after consulting with Khan as per IHC CJ Farooq’s directive.
“Imran Khan should be given four weeks to appear in court,” Khan’s lawyer requested the court.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad advocate general contended that Khan doesn’t want to face trial.
The court then reserved the verdict and announced it hours later.
Khan skips lower court hearing
Meanwhile, the deposed prime minister skipped the hearing in the Islamabad sessions court in the Toshakhana case despite a non-bailable arrest warrant against him.
At the outset of the hearing earlier in the day, Sardar Masroof Khan, a junior lawyer of Khan’s legal team, appeared before the lower court. Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) lawyer Saad Hasan also appeared in court.
Additional sessions Judge Iqbal inquired whether Khan wouldn’t appear in court again today. The lawyer said it was not known whether the PTI chief would appear or not and that a senior legal team of the PTI chair would appear before the court at 10am. The court then adjourned the hearing till 10am.
When the hearing resumed, ECP’s lawyer Hasan requested the court to adjourn the hearing till March 9 as Khan is due in the IHC.
Ranjha supported the lawyer’s request saying that the PTI chief would surely appear before the high court on March 9.
However, Khan’s lawyer maintained that he had been informed that it would be easier for the former premier to appear in the lower court next week.
At this, the judge remarked that in other words, it meant Khan wouldn’t appear in the sessions court on March 9.
The judge directed Khan’s lawyer Sher Afzal Marwat to submit an affidavit. At this, the lawyer assured the court of submitting the document by 11am.
“It seems like Imran Khan won’t appear in court today again,” the judge remarked.
Later, the court adjourned the hearing till 2pm at the request of Khan’s lawyer.
As the hearing reconvened in the local court, Khan’s lawyer informed the court about filing a plea challenging the arrest warrant issued against the former prime minister in IHC.
Khan’s lawyer Marwat maintained that there were certain reasons behind the PTI chief skipping hearings. “Imran Khan said several times that he had threats to his life,” the lawyer said.
He said that Khan had been attacked in the lower court in the past and it seems like another attack on him would be made.
He further stated that the PTI chief would appear in the judicial complex and high court. At this, the judge said that he is issuing orders for security arrangements at the court for a hearing on March 9.
Khan’s lawyer Sher Afzal Marwat submitted the security report in court.
Khan has to come to Islamabad on March 9 as he has hearings on bail in the IHC and the judicial complex, said the judge.
He said that he will issue directives on security to the inspector general (IG) and the Interior Ministry.
“The Toshakhana case will be dealt with as per the law,” remarked the judge. The lawyer said that the IHC would reserve and announce its verdict on the arrest warrant suspension after a while.
Lawyer Faisal Chaudhry said that the court should ask questions about the security of the relevant institutes. “The court should decide on what the security agencies say,” he added.
The concerns over security conditions in court are something serious, he said.
The court then adjourned the hearing till the IHC’s orders. Following the high court’s order, the lower court ordered Khan to appear before it on March 13 for indictment.
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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