IHC stops police from arresting Imran Khan in Toshakhana case

Justice Farooq warns PTI chief's lawyer that there will be consequences if undertaking given to IHC violated

Awais Yousafzai
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. — Instagram/@imrankhan.pti
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. — Instagram/@imrankhan.pti

  • PTI chief challenged court's rejection of suspension plea. 
  • Imran Khan assures court of appearing in court. 
  • Police directed to ensure security during Imran Khan's appearence.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court stopped the police on Friday from arresting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard Khan’s plea challenging the order of Islamabad’s district and session court that had issued the arrest warrant for the PTI chief.

The high court said that the former prime minister should be given a chance to appear before the court.

The IHC's Registrar's Office had earlier raised objections to Khan's petition challenging his arrest warrants in the Toshakhana case.

The PTI chief's biometric verification is not available, the office noted. "How can the high court hear the same matter on which it has already made its decision?" the office also questioned.

Later, the court decided to take up Khan's plea with the RO's objections. 

At today’s hearing, the IHC chief justice inquired about the objections raised on the petition. Khan’s counsel, Khawaja Haris, informed him that the biometric verification issue had been addressed.

About the objections regarding the IHC’s decision on the previous petition, he said that the court had referred the matter to the trial court.

“We had asked the court to look into the undertaking issue,” the chief justice said.

He noted that everyone is equal before the law. “You want to appear before the court and give assurance in this regard?” he asked.

At this, Khan’s counsel requested the bench to suspend the arrest warrant so that the PTI chief could appear before the court.

Justice Farooq warned the lawyer that there would be consequences if he doesn’t fulfil the promise and contempt proceedings will be initiated.

After this, the court granted relief to Imran Khan and directed the police to not arrest him.

The IHC also ordered the district administration and Islamabad police to provide security.

In the petition, the former prime minister had challenged the Islamabad court's decision of rejecting his plea seeking suspension of arrest warrants issued against him in the Toshakhana case. 

Khan, who is holed up in his Zaman Park residence in Lahore in defiance of the court order that had directed him to appear before it, had filed the plea through his lawyer Haris.  

In his petition, the PTI chairman requested: "The undertaking should be accepted and the police should be stopped from arresting [him]."

The PTI chief also assured the court of his appearance before the Islamabad court tomorrow (Saturday), requesting the court to hear his plea urgently.

"[...] non-bailable warrant of arrest has been issued by this court just for the appearance of the applicant. The applicant is ready and willing to appear before this court on the fixed date i.e. 18.03.2023 and he has given his undertaking in this regard," the petition read.

"It is trite law that the purpose of issuance of a non-bailable warrant of arrest is to ensure attendance of the accused and the undertaking has fulfilled the purpose of the warrant. Arrest and detention of the applicant will serve no useful purpose and he will be humiliated just for nothing."

Court rejects Khan's plea 

An Islamabad court Thursday rejected Khan's plea seeking the suspension of non-bailable arrest warrants issued in the Toshakhana case.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal announced the verdict reserved earlier redirecting the authorities concerned to arrest the former prime minister and present him before the court on March 18.

He mentioned that the decision has been taken after reviewing each and every aspect of the law, hoping that the petitioners will enjoy reading the detailed verdict.

Imran Khan’s indictment in the reference, which was scheduled for February 28, was differed multiple times before, due to his continuous absence from the hearing. Later, the court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for the PTI chairman.

The party approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday requesting it to suspend Khan's non-bailable arrest warrants in the Toshakhana case, but the high court directed the deposed prime minister's counsel to move the trial court as the order for his arrest was "in line with the law".