An Islamabad district and sessions court on Monday rejected an appeal filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan seeking the cancellation of a non-bailable arrest warrant against him in the Toshakhana case over his persistent refusal to attend proceedings.
Announcing the verdict, Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal—who had issued the warrant last week when Khan refused to attend proceedings while appearing in three other cases—said the PTI chief had not challenged the arrest warrants issued for him at any forum. “The accused was in a position to appear in this court on Feb. 28 after his appearances in different honorable courts but he willfully avoided to appear in this court,” he wrote in his ruling. “A warrant shall remain enforced until it is cancelled by the court which issued it, or until it is executed as per Section 75(2) [of the Code of Criminal Procedure],” it said, adding that the warrant had been issued for Khan’s appearance in the trial but he had failed to even appear in court for its cancellation.
“The accused has not surrendered himself before the court till yet and no application for his personal appearance for today is annexed with the record. The accused has not appeared in court for ensuring his appearance in the trial in future, therefore, the application is rejected,” it added.
An Islamabad police team on Sunday came to Lahore to arrest Khan with the court summons but failed to achieve its goal after PTI leader Shibli Faraz told them that he was “not available” but would appear in court for the hearing on March 7. After the team had departed, Khan petitioned the Islamabad sessions court to withdraw the warrant, arguing that it would enable an atmosphere for him to appear in court and defend himself.
The PTI chief also filed separate petitions before the Lahore High Court (LHC) for bail in cases related to the Toshakhana reference, vandalism at the Islamabad judicial complex and violence outside the Islamabad High Court (IHC). However, the petitions were returned after the LHC registrar raised some objections to them over the attachment of incomplete documents.