A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday granted PTI Chairman Imran Khan two-week bail in the Al-Qadir Trust case, a day after the Supreme Court termed his arrest from the IHC premises “invalid and unlawful”.
A division bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz heard the PTI chief’s bail plea at courtroom No.2. The detailed order in the case is awaited but Imran is free to go as far as the Al-Qadir Trust case is concerned.
The court also barred authorities from arresting him till May 17 in any case registered against the PTI chief in the jurisdiction of Islamabad after May 9.
During the hearing, Justice Aurangzeb asked Imran if he condemned the violence that ensued after his arrest, to which the PTI chief’s lawyer replied in the affirmative. The judge then asked the ex-premier to submit a declaration in court stating the same.
Earlier in the day, DawnNewsTV reported that Imran’s lawyers had also filed four additional pleas which urged the IHC to club all the cases against Imran and to direct authorities to provide details of the cases registered against him.
The hearing had initially begun after a nearly two-hour delay with media reporting that officials were conducting a security sweep outside the courtroom.
But they were halted shortly after they began at 1pm on account of Friday prayers. On the other hand, Geo News reported that judges had left the courtroom after “pro-Imran” slogans were raised.
When the hearing resumed after 2:30pm, Imran was present in the courtroom alongside his legal team and his lawyer Khawaja Haris presented his arguments.
Haris contended before the court that the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) actions were illegal. He said that NAB could only issue an arrest warrant after an inquiry had formally been turned into an investigation.
He said that the PTI had gotten to know that NAB had formally initiated an investigation against Imran through media reports. He also said that PTI chief had approached the IHC on May 9 seeking the NAB report in the inquiry but was arrested before he could enter the courtroom.
At one point during the hearing, the court asked the petitioner if he was provided a questionnaire in connection with the case, to which Haris replied in negative.
He said that Imran was issued a call-up notice which he did not appear for but instead submitted a written reply. Haris further said that the accountability watchdog was “biased” at the moment.
The court then accepted Imran’s bail plea and also instructed the NAB prosecutor general and Imran’s lawyers to be prepared at the next hearing. It also said that it would decide whether Imran’s bail should be cancelled or extended at the next hearing.
After the hearing concluded, Dawn.com’s correspondent outside the court said that a sea of PTI workers and supporters celebrated in the streets.
Separately, IHC’s Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri will shortly hear Imran’s pleas for bail in cases registered against him in other parts of the country.
Imran says he was hit on the head during arrest
In an informal conversation with journalists at the IHC, Imran said that NAB officials treated him “fine” but hastened to add that he was hit on the head while being arrested.
He further said that he was also not able to get in touch with his wife Bushra Bibi. “I asked the NAB team to let me talk [to her]. They let me talk to her on the landline,” he said.
Talking about violent protests in the country, he said, “How could I have stopped whatever happened? I had already told [you] that there would be a reaction to the arrest.
“When I was [taken into custody], then how can I be responsible?” the former premier asked.
In a video shared on social media by Independent Urdu, Imran further said: “I was sitting in the high court. They had no reason to arrest me. I was abducted.
“And there they showed me the warrant for the first time when they took me to jail. This happens in the law of the jungle and the army abducts. Where did the police go? Where did the law go?” he asked.
“The law of the jungle has been instated in the country. It seems as if martial law has been declared,” he said.
“When I reached the court yesterday, I found out for the first time that 40 helpless people have lost their lives in this. I did not even know about this,” he added.
Awan says Punjab police headed to Islamabad to arrest Imran in ‘new cases’
Talking to the media outside the IHC after the break in proceedings due to Friday prayers, PTI lawyer Babar Awan claimed that a police team from Lahore had left for Islamabad to arrest Imran in “new cases”.
“There are two to three people in the incumbent administration who are worried because if Imran Khan is released, their jobs will be in danger,” he alleged, adding that this was why Punjab police had been called to the capital.
Awan reiterated there were threats to Imran’s life, adding that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had also said the same. “Why are they then so adamant to arrest Imran? Let me tell you, any attempt to arrest Imran again will be unconstitutional.”
The lawyer also alleged that “special people” were hired to “hunt” the PTI chief and said that those who sent the ex-prime minister to jail were responsible for the violence in the country.
“Before Imran Khan was sent to jail […] the country’s situation was in front of you. Today, the situation has escalated at the hands of those who were struck out by the Supreme Court […] and that is NAB,” Awan added.
Imran arrives at IHC
The PTI chairman had arrived at the IHC shortly after 11:30am amid tight security and was then taken for his biometrics. Footage aired on television showed police and Rangers officials deployed outside the court premises and barbed wire placed in front of the gate.
Footage from outside the IHC showed a large number of lawyers shouting slogans expressing solidarity with the PTI chief.
Meanwhile, Islamabad police said that all unnecessary people had been removed from outside the court premises. It added that DIG Operations Shahzad Bukhari was overseeing the process.