SC bars LEAs from arresting PTI chairman

QUETTA (INP): The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday barred authorities from arresting PTI Chairman Imran Khan till August 9 in a case pertaining to the murder of lawyer Abdul Razzaq Shar in Quetta.
A three-member bench led by Justice Yahya Afridi and comprising Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Mussarat Hilali issued the directives while hearing Imran’s plea seeking to quash the case. On June 6, Shar was fatally shot by unidentified assailants near Alamo Chowk on Airport Road. According to the police, the attack occurred while he was en route to the Balochistan High Court (BHC), targeted by unknown individuals wielding automatic weapons.
The government and the PTI had traded blame over the incident, with both sides accusing the other of having a role in the killing. Prime minister’s aide Attaullah Tarar had alleged that the lawyer was killed at the behest of Imran to allegedly evade accountability in a treason case while PTI spokesperson Raoof Hassan had accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah of being behind the murder. It may be recalled that Shar had filed a constitutional petition against the PTI chief in the Balochistan High Court, seeking proceedings against the ex-premier under Article 6 that pertained to high treason. Subsequently, a first information report (FIR) was registered on the complaint of Shar’s son, Advocate Siraj Ahmed, at Quetta’s Shaheed Jamil police station against Imran.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had subsequently issued Imran’s arrest warrants in the case, which were later upheld by the BHC. Imran had then approached the apex court to quash the FIR registered against him. During the previous hearing on June 20, the bench had directed the ex-premier to submit before it in person before asking for the annulment of the FIR and warrants of arrest.
Imran appeared before the SC during Monday’s hearing alongside his lawyers. At the outset of the hearing, the Balochistan advocate general urged the SC to instruct the petitioner to appear before the joint investigation team (JIT) tasked with probing the murder. In response, Justice Afridi stated that the court would not issue such an order at this stage.