The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday granted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan interim bail until April 6 in seven different cases filed against him over alleged vandalism at the Federal Judicial Complex earlier this month.
A two-member bench—comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb—granted the relief to the former prime minister after he appeared in court to avoid arrest.
During the hearing, Khan’s lawyer Salman Safdar argued that the court should stop objecting to petitions filed by his client on the basis of a lack of biometric verification, saying it should not apply to individuals over 60 years old. However, Justice Farooq remarked that biometric verification had now become very easy.
The lawyer then argued that police have prevented Khan from attending proceedings at the Judicial Complex. “More FIRs against Imran Khan were lodged that day,” he said. To this, the IHC CJ raised a question over why the PTI had bypassed the subordinate judiciary in seeking bail. “Why didn’t you go to the trial court first when you have to go there ultimately,” he asked. Khan’s lawyer claimed he would submit Supreme Court judgements that supported this.
Referring to Khan’s security concerns, the judge noted that they must be genuine as he had already been attacked once. At this, Islamabad Advocate General Jahangir Jadoon noted that authorities had shifted the trial court to the Judicial Complex from F-8 Katcheri to facilitate Khan. “Imran Khan has the responsibility to ensure a peaceful environment. He didn’t even get out of the car and people burned [police] cars,” he said.
The PTI also referred to recent statements by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, claiming this proved Khan faced security risks from law enforcers. At this, Justice Farooq questioned what the petitioner was expected to do if the administration gave irresponsible statements. “They [PTI] will arrange its own security if you [administration] don’t provide it. Two prime ministers of Pakistan were assassinated and one was attacked,” the IHC CJ remarked, adding Khan should be accorded security in line with his status as a former prime minister.
The court then granted interim bail to Khan.