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Pak ex-PM Imran gets protective bail from LHC in 2 terrorism cases

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Shehbaz Rizvi and Justice Farooq Haider granted protective bail to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief in the terrorism cases till March 27

Pak ex-PM Imran gets protective bail from LHC in 2 terrorism cases
Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's ousted premier Imran Khan on Tuesday secured protective bail from the Lahore High Court in three cases, including two related to terrorism, registered against him over the violence that took place outside the judicial complex in Islamabad last week.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Shehbaz Rizvi and Justice Farooq Haider granted protective bail to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief in the terrorism cases till March 27.

The former premier also appeared before the Lahore High Court's (LHC) Justice Baqir Naqvi in the NAB investigation in Toshakhana case. The court granted him protective bail till next Tuesday.

''Mr Khan told the court today that he came to the court 'secretly' as a heavy contingent of police was deployed near to his house to stop him from reaching the court,'' a court official told PTI after the hearing.

Khan, 70, said he has no issue to appear in any case but during his appearance in court the government should make sure no chaos is created.

The number of cases registered against the PTI chief in the last 11 months of the PMLN-led government has swelled to around 100.

Unlike his recent appearances in courts, Khan on Tuesday was not accompained by party workers to the LHC from his Zaman Park residence here.

The PTI appears to have changed its strategy on Tuesday regarding sending a huge number of its workers along with the party chairman to the LHC apparently after the law enforcement agencies intensified crackdown on them.

The Punjab and Islamabad police have arrested over 500 PTI workers from different parts of the province.

Police said the arrested PTI workers were wanted in the recent incidents of violence in Lahore and Islamabad.

Khan appeared before the LHC in two terrorism cases registered against him by the Islamabad police after intense clashes erupted outside the Islamabad Judicial Complex on Saturday when he arrived in the capital from Lahore to attend the hearing in the Toshakhana case.

The PTI chief also appeared before LHC’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh in a petition seeking details of all the cases registered against him in Punjab province.

Khan informed Justice Sheikh that the Punjab government violated his (judge) order and ''attacked my house in Lahore as my wife was alone who got frightened during the police attack.'' Khan requested the court to order the police on his plea to register a case against Punjab caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi and the Inspector General Police for violating the LHC's order restraining police action at his Zaman Park residence.

Earlier, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad on Tuesday reserved the decision on ousted premier Khan's plea for an exemption from hearing in a case registered against him under the provisions of terrorism.

The terrorism case was lodged against the PTI chief in October last year at Islamabad’s Sangjani police station after PTI workers held protests and demonstrations outside ECP offices across the country after it disqualified Khan in the Toshakhana case.

Established in 1974, the Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.

Khan's lawyer Sardar Masroof Khan appeared before the court.

The lawyer said Khan has to appear before the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday.

''As soon as he leaves, thousands of workers come out with him. Imran Khan wants to come, but every time people come out and attack and then cases are registered against him,'' the lawyer was quoted as saying by The News.

During the confrontation between PTI workers and police in Islamabad on Saturday, over 25 security personnel were injured, prompting Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal to defer the court hearing till March 30.

Khan had moved the LHC for contempt of court proceedings against the police operation at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore on March 18.

Soon after Khan departed for Islamabad to attend the hearing in the Toshakhana case on Saturday, over 10,000 armed Punjab police personnel stormed his Zaman Park residence in Lahore and arrested dozens of his party workers.

The police personnel, using a power shovel, removed the barricades and tents at the entrance of the PTI chief's residence and evicted hundreds of his supporters camping there to prevent Khan's arrest in the Toshakhana case.

They conducted a search at the house after demolishing its main gate and walls. Punjab Police, whose action ended later, were reportedly met with resistance from PTI workers from inside, resulting in violence. About 10 workers were reportedly injured in the police operation in Lahore.

Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan in October last year for not sharing details of the sales.

The top electoral body later filed a complaint with the district court to punish him, under criminal laws, for selling the gifts he had received as prime minister of the country.

Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote, becoming the first Pakistani prime minister to be voted out by the National Assembly.

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