An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad on Monday extended interim bail of PTI Chairman Imran Khan till September 20 in a case for allegedly threatening Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry during a public rally.
The ATC resumed hearing at 11 am following a brief adjournment. Imran arrived in the court amid tight security with his vehicle blanketed with rose petals. He remained tight-lipped as he made his way inside, however, he once again told the reporters that he was “very dangerous”.
Judge Raja Jawad Hassan Abbas presided over the case and the former premier was present in the courtroom. PTI leaders Asad Umar, Azam Swati, Faisal Javed and others werealso present.
Special Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi also appeared in court.
Imran’s lawyer Babar Awan questioned if his reply to the court – mentioning that he had submitted more than one – was not included because it was “private”.
He maintained that he was ready to argue if the need occurred and was ready to give the new prosecutor time if he needed it.
The prosecutor stated that Imran had failed to appear before the joint investigation team (JIT) despite being issued three notices.
The judge asked Awan if Imran had received the notices, to which he said that Section 161 did not state that the perpetrator had to appear before the police.
“In the previous hearing also, the court’s investigator said that Imran Khan did not appear, however, this is not written anywhere,” he reiterated.
He said that Imran’s statement was written down and not brought on record and asked why the police did not write the statement in the supplementary.
Awan stated that the police themselves had said that banned organisations are behind Imran and asked what if the PTI chief went to the police station and was killed.
He maintained that Imran’s camp had offered that the police sit at the court in the morning so they could be asked what questions they had.
“The court can issue a show-cause notice to the police officer for faulty investigation”, he added.
Awan highlighted that even if the accused confessed to the police, it would have no legal status, and questioned why they had made it a condition for Imran to be included in the investigation.
Awan further claimed that a written statement was submitted twice to the JIT and investigating officer.
“I offered [to the police] without asking Imran Khan that if an investigation is to be done, then do it under judicial cover”, the lawyer said.
“They should decide if they want to investigate or harass”.
Awan threatened that they “would not spare” the inspector general and deputy inspector general of Islamabad.
He asked the court to highlight the terrorism in the case, to which the judge replied that Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi would pinpoint it.
Judge Abbas questioned why the lawyer was “engaged” for several days, with the prosecutor stating that the court was “now discussing” the accused joining the investigation.
“It is up to the JIT or the investigating officer to decide what the mode of the investigation will be”, the prosecutor said.
The lawyer questioned if anyone’s speech had ever been banned in the history of Pakistan.
The hearing was postponed till September 20 and Imran Khan’s bail was also extended.
THE CASE: Imran was booked in a case under sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ACT) for threatening an additional sessions judge and senior officials of the Islamabad Police in his speech at a rally.
The party had moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to grant Imran transit bail till August 25, but the court had directed the former premier to approach an ATC as it was a terror case.
The FIR registered against Khan states that he threatened Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and police officers at a rally in F-9 Park to “terrorise” police officials and the judiciary.
The main aim was to prevent the police officers and judiciary from carrying out their legal obligations, states the FIR. The FIR was registered on the complaint of Magistrate Ali Javed in Islamabad’s Margalla Police Station under Section 7 of ATA.
IMRAN’S THREAT: At a rally at the F-9 park in Islamabad, the PTI chair had warned that he would “not spare” Islamabad’s inspector-general, deputy inspector general, and female magistrate, vowing to file cases against them for allegedly torturing PTI leader Shahbaz Gill.
“We will not spare the IG and DIG,” he told the rally.
He called out Additional District and Sessions Judge Chaudhry, who had approved Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the capital police, and said she, too, should prepare herself as the case would also be registered against her.
The ex-PM led the rally in support of incarcerated leader Gill, who the party claims was subjected to alleged “gruesome torture” in police custody.