Bringing substantial relief to former Pakistani premier Imran Khan, he was granted interim bail in seven different cases lodged against him. Cases were lodged against the former cricketer turned prime minister following the clashes that took place at the Federal Judicial Complex in Lahore earlier in March, when the former prime minister had arrived in furtherance of a case hearing related to corruption.
On March 18, when Imran Khan arrived at the Islamabad Federal Complex for the hearing of the much-anticipated Toshakhana case, a series of tense events took place. Clashes occurred in the presence of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers. In the encounter held between the PTI workers and police, over 25 enforcement personnel were injured. Following the incident, the hearing was set for March 30.
According to reports, two police vehicles and seven motorcycles were burned, and the vehicle of the SHO was vandalised. FIRs had been lodged against multiple PTI workers, and about 17 PTI leaders were also named on the list. Cases in regard to vandalism, attacking security personnel, and creating unrest were registered against Imran Khan and other leaders.
Meanwhile, over 10,000 armed Punjab Police officers surrounded Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore while he was travelling to Islamabad. Multiple party workers of the PTI had been arrested at the residence. On Monday, the Islamabad Police imposed Section 144 in view of safety concerns and to ensure the repetition of previous events didn’t take place upon the arrival of Imran Khan.
Khan’s Counsel, Barrister Salman Safdar, asserted that Imran Khan would suffer “irreparable loss” if he were to be arrested. The Islamabad high court’s two-member division bench, comprised of Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, heard the bail plea and granted bail.
“Life under threat”
Imran Khan has strongly expressed his concerns regarding safety and claimed that his life is under threat, due to which the former PM has abstained from multiple court hearings. Earlier in November 2022, the former PM was shot in the leg in an assassination attempt while delivering a speech in Wazirabad, Punjab.
Imran Khan was removed from the chair as Prime Minister in April 2022 following a no-confidence motion, making him the first Pakistani prime minister to lose a no-confidence vote. Thereafter, Shehbaz Sharif, the president of the Pakistan Muslim League (N), was elected as the new prime minister.
Since then, Imran Khan has been constantly pushing for snap polls in the country, seeking the removal of the government led by Shehbaz Sharif, which he has termed an “imported government.”
In the infamous Toshakhana case, in which a non-bailable warrant had been issued to the former PM, the case was registered due to the concealment of personal assets and the non-disclosure of Toshakhana gifts to the Election Commission of Pakistan. Mr Khan is alleged to earn $36 million from selling 3 watches received.
Earlier this year, Imran Khan and other party leaders were issued bailable arrest warrants by the Election Commission for a case of contempt. Furthermore, Mr Khan has been facing the heat due to his nonappearance at a court hearing related to protests outside the election commission office.
The Chief of PTI is wanted on yet another warrant for allegedly threatening female judge Zeba Chaudhry.
Charges of anti-terrorism were also imposed upon the former PM for threatening his political opponents, which were eventually dropped later upon intervention by the Islamabad High Court.
Imran Khan is currently involved in 30+ cases, including litigation, police, and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). With Imran Khan summoned to appear in district and sessions court on March 30 with regards to the Toshakhana case, the country is anxiously anticipating future events.