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LHC Grants Imran Khan Protective Bail Till March 3 in ‘Rioting, Terror’ Case


LAHORE MIRROR (Monitoring Desk) — The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday granted PTI chief Imran Khan protective bail until March 3 in a case related to PTI protestors’ alleged rioting and clashes with Islamabad police in October in the aftermath of his disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan in the Toshakhana reference.

His plea for bail in another case — which was also registered in Islamabad and pertained to protests outside the office of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) — was disposed of after the ex-premier withdrew his petition.

During today’s hour-long hearing, Imran’s convoy faced difficulty in moving towards the courtroom due to the large number of lawyers and supporters gathered.

He finally emerged from his car at 7:30pm despite entering the LHC premises around 6pm and made his way to the courtroom alongside senior PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Umar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Azam Swati.

When Imran’s convoy left Zaman Park — where the PTI chief has been convalescing since being wounded in an assassination attempt during a pitstop his caravan made in Wazirabad while they were marching on Islamabad — and arrived at the LHC premises, it was showered with rose petals. A large number of PTI supporters had also surrounded the convoy and chanted slogans in support of the ex-premier.

In the petition, Imran urged the court to grant him 15-day protective bail so that he could approach the relevant court for pre-arrest bail.

The petition was fixed for hearing before a two-judge bench led by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi. When the hearing began, the PTI chief was not present in the courtroom. At this, his lawyer Siddique argued that his client was present inside the LHC premises but could not be presented in the courtroom due to the security risk.

He said the party had not disclosed that the PTI chief would be appearing before the LHC. “Call it the people’s love or their madness that such a large crowd has gathered,” Siddique said.

The lawyer said that if Imran were to step out of his car in such a situation, he may risk getting injured.

However, Justice Najafi maintained that Imran would have to appear in the courtroom. He ordered that Imran’s physical presence be ensured by 7:30pm and adjourned the hearing.

When the hearing resumed, Imran had finally made his way inside the courtroom. Taking the rostrum, Imran said that his leg — which he had injured in Wazirabad attack on his convoy last year — had recovered to an extent but the doctors had still advised him two weeks’ rest.

He said that his medical checkup was scheduled for February 28. He further said that he had waited outside the courtroom for an hour, adding that he “fully respects the courts.”

The court granted Imran protective bail till March 3 and directed him to approach the relevant court by then.

The written order noted that Imran’s counsel had argued that his client had been falsely implicated in the case. It further noted that Imran wanted to appear before the court with the relevant jurisdiction and needed time to do so.

“Under the law, the petitioner is required to approach the court of first instance but in the interest of justice, we are inclined to grant him ad-interim anticipatory bail protective in nature until March 3 to enable him to approach the court of first instance,” the order said.