PTI chief secures 14-day bail in lawyer’s murder case

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday granted 14-day protective bail to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in a senior Supreme Court lawyer’s murder case.

The former premier along with others was booked in the case of Abdul Razzaq Shar, who was shot dead by armed motorcyclists on Airport Road in Quetta, Balochistan, on Wednesday.

A first information report (FIR) had been registered on the complaint of the slain lawyer’s son advocate Siraj Ahmed in Quetta, under the charges of murder, Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and other provisions.

The ousted prime minister is due to appeal to several other courts for bail on a growing list of charges against him in a bid to avert his arrest.

He first appeared before the high court where a two-member bench, headed by the IHC chief justice conducted a hearing on the plea filed in the lawyer’s murder case.

The court also directed the PTI cheif to appear before the court after two weeks.

Meanwhile, a set of fresh pleas was filed in the IHC earlier in the day, for ex-PM’s bail in five new cases related to the May 9 protests and another case of fake Toshakhana receipt.

The counsel had requested an immediate hearing on the pleas today.

Separately, a hearing on the PTI chief’s bail pleas in eight cases will be held later at an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in the Islamabad judicial complex and another at a local court present inside the same complex.

After the hearings, the PTI chief will appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at its Rawalpindi office for the investigations of the NCA case.

NAB’s combined investigation team (CIT) had summoned the former prime minister to answer the questionnaire, given to him on his last appearance on May 23.

The ex-PM is facing a barrage of legal woes since his ouster in a no-confidence vote in April last year by a united opposition led by his successor, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

He claims that he is facing nearly 150 cases, including the infamous £190 million settlement case related to the transfer of multi-million pounds from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), and denies all of them.

New charges against him have been piling up since his May 9 arrest on corruption charges, which sparked protests by his supporters who ransacked military facilities.

Female judge threatening case

The Islamabad police had served summons to the cricketer-turned-politician for an appearance at a district and sessions court today (June 8), but a plea seeking his exemption from the hearing was filed.

PTI chief’s lawyer Salman Safdar while filing the plea maintained that six new cases had been registered against his client.

“PTI chairman will appear before the courts in 17 different cases,” the lawyer informed the court, reiterating that the former premier had also survived an assassination attack.

Judicial Magistrate Malik Aman adjourned the hearing till the prosecutor appears.

During the hearing, Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi maintained that the PTI chief skips the hearings due to trivial reasons and was taking unfair advantage of pre-arrest bail.

He requested the court to summon a guarantor on the former PM’s behalf and cancel his bail plea.

At this, the judicial magistrate reserved the verdict on the plea for exemption plea.

It should be noted that the charges, in this case, are related to a speech by the ex-PM in which he allegedly threatened police and a female judge last year after one of his close aides, Shahbaz Gill, was denied bail in a sedition case.

ATC hearing

Former premier’s lawyer Salman Safdar appeared before the ATC and informed the judge that the PTI chief’s bail pleas in 17 cases had to be filed.

He maintained that the ex-PM was willing to join the investigations.

During the hearing, Prosecutor Adnan Ali maintained that the former premier’s behaviour showed he didn’t want to join the investigations.

The judge directed the PTI chief to join investigations at police lines.

At this, the defence lawyers requested the court to allow the former premier to join the investigations at the judicial complex as it was not possible at police lines.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing till the appearance of the PTI chief.

Section 144 violation

Meanwhile, the PTI chief’s legal team approached the relevant court for his bail in the case related to the violation of Section 144.

The case was registered at Margala Police Station last month.

Sessions judge Nasir Javed Rana allocated the hearing on the bail plea to additional sessions judge Sikandar Khan, who will conduct the hearing at the judicial complex due to security concerns.