LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has reserved its decision on the plea filed by former prime minister Imran Khan challenging his potential arrest in cases registered on or after May 9, the day he was taken into brief custody by a paramilitary unit.
Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last week in a land dispute case, prompting violent protests across the country already reeling from a crippling economic crisis. He was later released and received bail from the high court of Islamabad for two weeks.
In the latest petition, which nominated the head of Punjab police and the state through the advocate general of Punjab as respondents, the court was urged to instruct the former to present a fresh report concerning the registration of “undisclosed/new FIRs” in Lahore after May 9.
Furthermore, the petition sought legal protection for Khan and requested the judge to prevent the respondents from apprehending the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in any new criminal case registered on or after May 9 without prior permission from the court.
Khan informed the judge he had been targeted by the police with over 100 politically motivated and “unlawful” cases. Furthermore, he highlighted that numerous “fabricated” cases had been lodged against leaders and workers of his party, resulting in the illegal detention of “thousands” of individuals, with the whereabouts of many remaining unknown.
At the outset of the proceedings, Justice Safdar Saleem Shahid sought information regarding the current location of Khan.
Salman Safdar, the counsel for Khan, informed the court his client did not possess protective bail. He further said that if the court so desired, Khan could be presented after 11 am.
However, the legal counsel representing the government opposed this suggestion, asserting that Khan’s plea was inadmissible. The government lawyer also noted that the former prime minister was attempting to seek protective bail without appearing before the court.
In response, Safdar clarified his client was not seeking protective bail and requested the case be referred to a larger bench for consideration. Following this exchange, the court reserved its verdict on the matter.
The court’s ruling will clarify the extent of protection afforded to him under the law regarding cases registered subsequent to his arrest on May 9.