ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Friday barred the authorities from arresting PTI Chairman Imran Khan in all cases till Wednesday (May 17), in a major relief to the defiant politician.
A two-member bench Justice comprising Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz announced the verdict on petitions filed by the former premier who is also present in the court with strict security at the IHC.
Earlier, the bench approved two-week interim bail of the PTI chief in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman was brought to IHC from the rest house of Police Line Headquarters amid tight security as a huge number of his supporters have gathered there.
Heavy contingent of police and FC has been deployed outside the high court and other parts of the federal capital in order to avoid any untoward situation.
PTI claims that thousands of “peaceful Pakistanis” from all over the country will converge in Islamabad to show their support for their leader. However, almost 2,000 individuals have already been arrested, and eight people have been killed in clashes between Imran’s supporters and the police. Protesters have also attacked military establishments and set other state buildings and assets on fire, prompting the government to call in the army to help restore order.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court declared Imran’s arrest invalid and directed him to appear before the IHC at 11:00 am on Friday for bail related to the call-up notice by NAB. At around 3:20 pm on Thursday, the bench ordered Advocate General Jehangir Jadoon to produce Imran before it at 04:00 pm. In compliance with the apex court’s order, the Islamabad police produced Imran before the bench amid tight security a little after 5:45 pm.
During his appearance, Imran explained his arrest and urged his supporters and PTI workers to avoid violence and remain calm and peaceful. He also requested his supporters not to damage any public or private property. The court granted Imran permission to meet up to ten guests, subject to a security check by the police. These guests will be allowed to stay with Imran for as long as he desires.
The petition was filed on Wednesday following Imran’s arrest by NAB from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday in the Al-Qadir Trust case. Earlier, the petition was returned due to a few objections but was accepted after PTI addressed the concerns.
Following Imran’s arrest, several PTI leaders, including Asad Umar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, Ali Zaidi, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Falaknaz Chitrali, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, and Maleeka Bokhari were also arrested. The nation’s major cities have been engulfed in protests that have resulted in numerous incidents of violence. In response, Punjab police have arrested over 1,000 individuals in connection with the protests.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has referred to the violent protests led by PTI as “unforgivable crimes” and “acts of terrorism”. He warned that strict action would be taken against “state’s enemies” who are ransacking public properties and state installations.