Islamabad- In a temporary relief to Imran Khan, a special bench of the Islamabad High Court on Friday granted him protective bail for two weeks in a corruption case and ordered that the former Pakistan prime minister should not be arrested till May 17 in any case registered after Tuesday.
The bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz heard the Al-Qadir trust corruption case, a day after the Supreme Court termed Khan’s dramatic arrest from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises on Tuesday as “invalid and unlawful”.
The court in its order also stated that the former premier should not be arrested in any case, registered after May 9, till May 17. The bench also ordered the authorities to provide ‘foolproof security’ to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief. Khan is expected to return to his Bani Gala residence.
In another case, the IHC judge Justice Tariq Mehmood Jehangiri conducted the hearing in the Zile Shah murder case and after arguments, the court accepted Khan’s protective bail in the case till May 22. Shah was a PTI supporter and was killed in violence in March when police raided Khan’s Lahore residence to arrest him.
The IHC’s decision to grant Khan a two-week reprieve from arrest came hours after he warned of countrywide unrest if he was arrested again.
Khan, 70, arrived at the court amid tight security and underwent the biometric identification process and other formalities.
The hearing was delayed for nearly two hours due to security reasons.
Earlier, the two judges left the courtroom amid pro-Khan slogan shouting by a lawyer. The upset judges later announced that the hearing will resume after Friday prayers.
Dawn News reported that Khan’s lawyers had filed four additional requests which urged the IHC to club all the cases against the PTI chief and to direct authorities to provide details of the cases registered against him.
Khan was arrested after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) issued an arrest warrant against him.
The Al-Qadir Trust corruption case is about the setting up of Al-Qadir University for Sufism in the 2019 Sohawa area of Jhelum district of Punjab.
Khan is accused of looting Rs 50 billion from the national treasury in the case.
The former prime minister, along with his wife Bushra Bibi and other PTI leaders, is facing a NAB inquiry related to a settlement between the PTI government and a property tycoon.
Khan’s arrest by paramilitary Rangers sparked widespread protests across Pakistan, prompting the deployment of the Army here as well as in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. The violent protests left at least eight people dead.
In an informal interaction with journalists during the hearing break, Khan said that he will not resist if his bail plea is rejected.
Khan maintained that he was ”abducted” and was shown the warrant for his arrest while in custody.
”This is the law of the jungle. It looks as if martial law has been declared,” said the former premier,” he said.
The PTI chief said he was assaulted with a baton but maintained that NAB’s ”behaviour was fine” during his detention.
Khan said he was inside the premises of the IHC when he was arrested and ”they had no justification” for the act.
The PTI chief did not respond to a question about his experience of being arrested.
Terming his arrest “abduction”, he said that the warrant was shown to him after he was taken to the jail.
Speaking to media persons during the hearing break, Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan clarified that the lawyers who started chanting slogans were not related to PTI.
Awan, talking with the media outside the IHC, said that the PTI chief’s ”life is in danger”.
He maintained that there are certain people who fear that if Khan is released, their jobs will be at risk.
”That is why Punjab Police has come from Lahore,” he added.
Separately, Khan’s supporters clashed with police which stopped them from going anywhere near the IHC building.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday questioned the Supreme Court’s granting of relief to its ”ladla” Imran Khan, saying its ”double standards” have led to the death of justice in Pakistan.
“When he (Imran) was presented in court yesterday, the CJP said it is good to see you. And, he said this in a case of corruption,” he said.
“If you want to keep favouring this ladla (pampered), then you should also release all the dacoits behind bars in the country. Let this be free for all,” he said while addressing the federal Cabinet on Friday.
Describing Khan and his party as ”liars”, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday slammed the Opposition for pushing the cash-strapped country towards ”destruction”.
Khan is facing over 120 cases across the country, including for allegedly committing treason and blasphemy and inciting violence and terrorism.
He was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
He is the only Pakistani prime minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
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