LAHORE: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday filed two civil miscellaneous applications seeking directions to club all his cases at one appropriate venue and permission for audio/video-link during his court appearances.
Imran Khan filed the applications through his counsel Barrister Salman Safdar in the Lahore High Court on Saturday.
Imran’s counsel requested the court to direct concerned authorities to make necessary arrangements for conducting all cases against the petitioner at a specified venue or court, minimising disruption to other judicial work, and ensuring foolproof security arrangements for everyone present during the proceedings, including judges, lawyers, litigants, and court staff.
Application to club all cases
Imran cited the concerted efforts of his political opponents and some powers to remove him from the political process and deny the people of Pakistan the opportunity to express their democratic support for him and his fellow leaders in one of his application.
He contended that the numerous false and frivolous cases registered against him have necessitated multiple court appearances, resulting in a serious threat to his life due to the lack of security being provided to him. Despite his entitlement as an ex-prime minister of Pakistan, he alleged that security is being willfully neglected by his political opponents occupying responsible positions in the executive and that the threat to his life potentially emanates from within the security apparatus.
The petition stated that Imran Khan’s court appearances result in large crowds due to the people of Pakistan’s affection and support for him, creating potential opportunities for miscreants to act using the cover and anonymity provided by the crowd, thus creating a security threat and causing disruption to the courts’ routine work.
Moreover, courts and judicial complexes are public places with multiple entry and exit points, no access control system, multiple courts in progress, and thousands of litigants and associated individuals visiting the premises with vehicular and parking access, lawyer offices, hutments, and no restriction on the movement of men and materials.
It stated that the dates of Imran Khan’s appearances are in public knowledge, making the possibility of mischievous elements taking advantage of the situation and capitalising on the difficulties in enforcing strict access control impossible to rule out. Any untoward situation is likely to result in chaos and stampede, making evacuation measures extremely difficult.
Imran Khan implored the court to club all the cases against him at a specified venue or court to minimise disruption to other judicial work, and ensure foolproof security arrangements for everyone present during the proceedings, including judges, lawyers, litigants, and court staff.
Application to seek audio/video link
In his application seeking permission to appear via audio/video-link, Imran implored that the use of modern and scientific devices, such as a video-link, would be cost-effective and practical for the administration of the criminal justice system.
In addition to avoiding the deployment of thousands of security officials on the days of court appearances, video-links would prevent serious traffic disruption on the roads and overcrowding at the time of entering the courts.
The petitioner also noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged the adoption of video-links in many walks of life, including the judicial system. Recent advisories by the federal government have also recommended that citizens adopt precautionary measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, making the use of video-links a prudent choice to avoid crowded hearings.
The petitioner argued that the threat to the applicant’s life and terrorist activity that harms others present in the vicinity is a real danger. In light of these extraordinary circumstances, the petitioner requested that the court allow the applicant to participate in court hearings and investigative procedures through video-links while safeguarding his fundamental right to defend himself. This would also enable the courts and law enforcement agencies to carry out the due process of adjudication without the threat of any untoward incident.
The petitioner has requested that the court to direct concerned quarters to facilitate and make necessary arrangements for the applicant’s participation and appearance in all cases within the jurisdiction of the court through audio/video link.