The Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Friday suspended for two weeks an arrest warrant for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan that had been issued by a local court over a case registered against him in Quetta.
Hearing a plea filed by a member of the Insaf Lawyers’ Forum on behalf of Khan, Justice Zaheerud Din Kakar announced the suspension of the warrant and issued a summons for the Balochistan police chief, the superintendent of police (legal), and the station house officer of the Bijli Police Station. He then adjourned the proceedings for two weeks.
In his arguments, the counsel maintained that Khan’s alleged offense was not committed in the jurisdiction of Bijli Police Station and should therefore be dismissed.
On Sunday, Khan had addressed party workers and supporters at his residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park, lashing out at the armed forces and some of their officers. Subsequently, a first information report (FIR) was registered against him at the Quetta police station, with complainant Abdul Khalil Kakar citing Sections 153A, 124A, and 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 20 of PECA. According to the FIR, the PTI chief’s remarks were an attempt to destroy public peace and order.
Acting on the FIR, a judicial magistrate had issued an arrest warrant for Khan and directed authorities to ensure the presence of the PTI chief in court during the next hearing. Subsequently, a five-member team of Quetta police had been dispatched to Lahore to take Khan into custody, triggering panic in the PTI, which had urged its supporters to gather at Zaman Park in the form of a “human shield” to prevent police from exercising their authority.
Khan, while claiming that he “does not fear arrest,” has routinely relied on mobs of his party supporters and workers to prevent police from taking him into custody. At the same time, he has been avoiding court appearances, resulting in multiple arrest warrants being issued for him, requiring the PTI to secure relief from higher judicial forums.