Islamabad ATC grants Imran Khan pre-arrest bail in terror case

Ahmed Subhan
Awais Yousafzai

Former prime minister Imran Khan, who is facing terrorism charges, appears in court to extend pre-arrest bail, in Islamabad, Pakistan August 25, 2022. — Reuters
Former prime minister Imran Khan, who is facing terrorism charges, appears in court to extend pre-arrest bail, in Islamabad, Pakistan August 25, 2022. — Reuters

  • Imran Khan appears in person before ATC amid high security.
  • Court stops police from arresting Imran Khan till September 1.
  • Orders Imran Khan to submit Rs100,000 as surety against bail.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday secured pre-arrest bail in the terror case filed against him for threatening Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry during a public rally, shortly after he appeared before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad.

The ATC accepted the ex-prime minister’s bail plea against a surety of Rs100,000, stopping the police from arresting Khan till September 1. The court also issued notices to the police and petitioner. Khan's bail will be reviewed now at the hearing on September 1.

Khan appeared in the ATC in person where judge Raja Jawwad Abbas heard his plea.

Those making decisions should think of country: Imran Khan

Meanwhile, speaking to the media outside court, PTI chair Imran Khan urged those "making and influencing" decisions to consider the country.

He said the world is making fun of Pakistan over news of him being booked in a terror case for intending to take legal action against officials whom he alleges are involved in the torture of his chief of staff Shahbaz Gill in prison.

"Torture and sexual abuse was inflicted on Shahbaz Gill and when I said that I'll take legal action against the police officials involved and the magistrate who sent Gill into police custody despite torture being proven in court, I was booked in a terror case," he said.

He said when news of this spread across the globe it gave an impression of Pakistan being a banana republic.

Khan went on to say that he would advise those — who are making and influencing such decisions — to think about the country.

"They are terrified of PTI's power [..] and are trying to get the head of the biggest party arrested in this case just for a technical knockout and to save themselves," he added.

Lawyers term case against Imran Khan 'political victimisation'

At the outset of the hearing, Khan's counsels Babar Awan and Muhammad Ali Bukhari termed the terrorism case against Imran Khan “political victimisation” while filing a petition seeking his pre-arrest bail.

The lawyers urged the ATC judge to grant Imran Khan pre-arrest bail in the terrorism case. In their petition, they said that the police lodged a terrorism case against Imran Khan as “revenge”.

Opening his arguments, Khan’s counsel Babar Awan raised a question that according to the prosecution, his client threatened IG, DIG Islamabad and a female judge during his Islamabad address but they are not complainants, adding that a magistrate is a plaintiff as per the FIR.

Awan asked, “Are the words ‘shame on you’ threats?” He maintained that these words are often used in our society.

“In his address, my client had warned that he would file cases against the IG and the DIG,” Awan said, adding that he had warned about taking legal action cases but didn't threaten to murder.

Imran Khan did not say that he would kill anybody, he argued.

Urging the court to grant Imran Khan interim bail, the lawyer said that it is expected that the police would arrest his client.

The court granted the bail to Imran Khan after the completion of arguments.

For today's hearing, strict security arrangements were made around the Federal Judicial Complex, which is home to Islamabad's ATC. Security arrangements include the deployment of additional police personnel comprising 400 cops and FC personnel to assist the police.

All the ways leading to the judicial complex have been blocked using barbed wires and irrelevant persons have been restricted to enter the vicinity. Moreover, an armoured vehicle is also present outside the court.

PTI asks supporters to head to Islamabad if Imran Khan arrested

Ahead of Imran Khan's appearance before an ATC, the PTI asked its supporters to take to the streets and head to Islamabad if their leader gets arrested.

"If Imran Khan is arrested, come out on the streets and then head to Islamabad the next day. Clear directions from the party given," a tweet on PTI's official account stated.

The case

The PTI chair had staged a rally in the federal capital on August 20 to express solidarity with his chief of staff Shahbaz Gill after claims of torture in custody. He said that the additional sessions judge — who sent Gill into physical remand on the police's request — should brace herself for consequences.

An FIR was registered against him under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act at the Margalla police station for threatening the judge and other senior officers of the Islamabad Police during the rally.

A day after the registration of a case against him, Imran Khan secured transit bail till August 25 from the Islamabad High Court which directed him to approach the relevant forum for pre-arrest bail.

What did Imran Khan say?

Last Sunday, PTI chief Khan warned that he would “not spare” Islamabad's inspector-general, deputy inspector general, and female magistrate, vowing to file cases against them for torturing Gill.

“We will not spare the IG and DIG,” he said while addressing a public gathering at the F-9 park. The former prime minister called out Additional District and Sessions Judge Chaudhry, who had approved Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the capital police, and said she, too, should prepare herself as the case will also be registered against her.

The PTI chief passed the remarks while leading a rally in Islamabad from Zero Point to F-9 Park in support of incarcerated leader Gill, who the party claims was subjected to alleged “gruesome torture” in police custody.