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LAHORE: Islamabad police will visit Zaman Park in the next 24 hours to arrest Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, sources said on Monday, after his non-bailable arrest warrants were issued in a case of threatening a female judge. belonging to a court in the federal capital.
Desperate to put him behind bars, a police party from Islamabad earlier in the day flew by helicopter to Lahore to arrest the PTI chairman – who was ousted as prime minister last year in April.
The sources said that a number of decisions were taken during a meeting between Islamabad officials and Lahore police officials – as the law enforcers came to the city for the second time to arrest Khan.
The participants of the meeting decided that the Islamabad police will be fully supported and it will be ensured that the capital’s cops reach Khan’s residence in Zaman Park without any obstacles, the sources said.
“Before the Islamabad police leave for Zaman Park, they will contact Khan’s chief security officer,” the sources added.
Khan was booked in a case for threatening judicial magistrate Zeba Chaudhry and police officers at a rally in F-9 Park on August 20, to the “terror” of police officers and the judiciary.
The main aim was to prevent police officers and the judiciary from fulfilling their legal obligations, the FIR said. The FIR was
registered on the complaint of Magistrate Ali Javed at Margalla Police Station Islamabad under Section 7 of ATA.
However, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) last year in September dropped the terrorism charges and directed to transfer the case to a relevant court under the remaining sections of the FIR.
Two courts have issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Khan in separate cases, however, he has repeatedly failed to appear before them – and instead, held a rally in Lahore, where he also announced to hold a rally ” historic” this Sunday.
In connection with the Toshakhana case, the capital’s police had also arrived in Lahore on March 5, but were told that Khan was not at his home in Zaman Park, resulting in them leaving empty-handed.
Earlier in the day, Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim released the three-page reserved judgment and issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Khan’s continued non-appearance.
Rejecting Khan’s petition seeking exemption from attending the hearing of the case in person, the court ordered the police to produce the PTI chief before it by March 29.
The former prime minister, instead of attending the hearing, filed a plea for exemption from appearing physically before the judge, asking for permission to join the court proceedings more or less via video link.
During the hearing, a lawyer for the PTI chief, Intezar Haider Panjutha, said that it was not safe for the 71-year-old politician to come to Islamabad amid security threats against him, adding that they had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) requests permission to appear virtually before the courts.
Another member of Khan’s legal team, Naeem Haider Panjutha, said a petition had been filed seeking exemption from attendance on behalf of the former prime minister on security grounds.
The lawyer also asked for the acceptance of Imran’s plea, mentioning that “not appearing for certain reasons and not being ready to appear are two different things.”
The court gave Khan an opportunity to appear before it, but he did not show, leading to the issuance of the warrants.
A district and sessions court earlier in the day also restored the non-bailable arrest warrant of the former chief minister in the Toshakhana case.
The Islamabad court had earlier reserved its verdict on a petition filed by the former prime minister seeking exemption from the hearing of the case.
Last week, the IHC stayed the non-bailable arrest warrant for Khan issued by the local court issued due to the continued absence of the PTI chief.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq accepted the PTI chief’s plea against Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal’s decision and directed Khan to ensure his appearance before the lower court on March 13.
However, during today’s hearing, Khan filed an exemption plea citing security threats and failed to appear before the court once again.
Rejecting Khan’s plea of exemption, the court issued orders to arrest the PTI chief and produce him before the court on March 18.
“The job of the police is to bring Imran Khan to court,” the court said.