Toshakhana case: Imran Khan’s arrest warrant challenged in IHC

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday challenged the order of a district and sessions court which upheld the non-bailable arrest warrant for former prime minister Imran Khan in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

A day earlier, Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal rejected the plea seeking to suspend the warrants issued last month in the Toshakhana case over his persistent absences in the case hearings.

PTI chairman’s lawyer Advocate Ali Bokhari also requested the court to fix this case for the hearing today which was accepted. IHC resumes hearing of the case after accepting the PTI chairman’s lawyer’s request for an urgent hearing.

In the petition, it is maintained by the PTI lawyers that the impugned orders are against the facts and law and passed by ignoring the settled proposition that each case has to be seen on its peculiar circumstances.

It also stated that due to the orders, the liberty of the petitioner has been prejudiced detrimentally.

“The Honourable Apex Court through multiple latest judgments have interpreted the law in favour of the accused person and adopted modern techniques as per the circumstances of the case and hence impugned orders are passed ignoring the modification in law,” the petition read.

It added that “it is also a settled law that the superior courts being superior in the hierarchy of the adjudication are to be attended in priority and the same is legally and ethically followed by the petitioner”.

“That the intention of the petitioner can be gathered by the precedent set by the petitioner of him appearing in all the courts In Islamabad, however, due to unavoidable circumstances was not able to appear before this honorable court and the set circumstances were actually not In control of the petitioner rather these were to add respect to the judiciary by appearing before the superior forums,” the petition mentioned.

Imran Khan’s lawyers further maintained that the PTI chief is facing serious health issues in consequence and continuation of the attack in Wazirabad and his medical consultants are continuously refraining him from any sort of travelling.

“At the same time the attending circumstances and situation expressly speak volumes of life threat to Khan’s life amongst other dire situations cumulatively are hindrances before his appearance before the court seeks indulgence of this honourable court to set aside the impugned orders.”

It also highlighted that the non-appearance was not intentional.

“In circumstances, it is respectfully prayed that the impugned orders dated February 28 and March 06 may kindly be set aside so to afford the petitioner a fair opportunity to appear and defend himself before the learned trial court in the best interest of justice.”

Imran Khan skips Toshakhana hearing
Despite repeated court directives to appear before it, the PTI chairman again skipped the Toshakana hearing today after which Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal expressed displeasure on Imran Khan’s conduct.

At the outset of today’s hearing, Sardar Masroof Khan, a junior lawyer of Imran Khan’s legal team appeared before the court while Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) lawyer Saad Hasan were also in attendance.

When judge Zafar Iqbal inquired whether Imran Khan would appear in court today or not, the lawyer expressed ignorance, saying a senior legal team of the PTI chairman 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 katchehri 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.

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