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A court here on Tuesday adjourned until March 16 a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against Pakistan’s former prime minister, Imran Khan, for threatening a female magistrate while addressing a public gathering here last year.
A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Khan on Monday for using threatening language against Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and Islamabad police officials, Dawn News reported.
Khan’s counsel said in Monday’s hearing that the 70-year-old PTI leader was ready to attend the trial via video link, but rejecting his plea, Senior Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim directed the police to produce the cricketer-turned-cricketer a politician in court by March 29.
The PTI leader subsequently challenged the warrants in the district court, where Additional Sessions Judge Faizan Haider Gilani said in the order that Khan’s counsel argued that “due to security threat to the life of the petitioner, the petitioner could not appear before the trial court educated”.
During the hearing, a lawyer for Khan said that it was not safe for the former prime minister to come to Islamabad amid security threats against him, adding that they had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking permission to appear almost before the courts.
The judge said the arguments raised by Khan’s petition needed to be considered.
“Now to come up for arguments on 16.03.2023. In the meantime, the operation of the impugned order is hereby stayed till the next date,” the order added.
Lawyers Naeem Panjotha and Intizar Panjotha appeared in court at Tuesday’s hearing, where Panjotha argued that all the sections used against the PTI chief were bailable and the judge asked if non-bailable arrest warrants had been issued for Khan earlier too.
Prior to this, arrest warrants have not been issued in the case related to threatening the female judge, the lawyer replied. For his part, the government lawyer informed the court that [arrest] warrants were also issued for Khan in the Toshakhana case. A sessions court had ordered the police on Monday to arrest the PTI chief in the case and produce him in the court by March 18.
Meanwhile, the judge said the former chief leader was leading an election rally in Lahore to which his lawyer told that the PTI chairman had appeared at the judicial complex last month.
Khan was initially booked under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Moreover, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also initiated contempt of court proceedings against him. However, the IHC later dropped the terrorism charges and also pardoned Khan following an apology in the former premier’s contempt case.
However, a similar case, filed after a first information report (FIR) was registered against him for threatening the judge, is pending before the sessions court. Meanwhile, a team of Islamabad Police flew to Lahore on Monday to arrest Khan for threatening the lady judge after the district and sessions court issued his non-bailable arrest warrant for failing to attend the hearing in that case. . Khan, who is recovering from a gunshot wound from an assassination attempt in Wazirabad last year, has skipped indictment hearings in these cases.
The PTI chief is in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch that he had received as the main gift at a discounted price from a state store called Toshakhana and sold them at a profit.
Khan has sharply criticized state institutions after a secret police attempt to arrest him from his residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park earlier this month.
According to Khan, he was facing at least 80 different cases in different courts across Pakistan. Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which he claimed was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.