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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 598, 12 May 2023

IHC approves two-week bail for Imran Khan after CJP terms the arrest as “illegal”



Islamabad High Court grants two-week bail

Taffy Tonia and Femy Francis

On 12 May, the Islamabad High Court awarded PTI chairman Imran Khan a two-week bail after he was arrested for the Al- Qadir trust case. This comes in after CJP Umar Bandial stated his arrest as "invalid and unlawful." The high court bench consisted of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz. The verdict banned arresting Imran Khan till 17 May for any probe registered. Imran Khan said: "I was sitting in the high court. They had no reason to arrest me. I was abducted. And there they showed me the warrant for the first time when they took me to jail. This happens in the law of the jungle and the army abducts. Where did the police go? Where did the law go?"
 
On 12 May, Former Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in a case involving the Al Qadir Trust. A bench led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial summoned PTI chairman Imran Khan to the Islamabad High Court. The SC declared Imran's arrest invalid and Unlawful and directed him to appear before the IHC for bail. Advocate General Jehangir Jadoon, produced Imran before the bench amid tight security in compliance with a court order. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial while addressing Imran Khan said: "Your arrest was invalid and the process needs to be reversed to the time you were putting your thumb impression [in the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on 9 May]." Senator Shibli Faraz welcomed the verdict of Imran Khan's arrest, stating that it was not an arrest but a pure and orchestrated abduction from within the IHC premises. The court directed NAB and police to ensure "foolproof" security for Imran Khan until his production before the high court in connection with his petition against NAB in the Al Qadir Trust case. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and the Rangers deployed outside the court on Constitution Avenue at the hearing.

Maryam Nawaz PML-N criticised Umar Ata Bandial for releasing Imran Khan, suggesting he should resign and join the PTI. She accused the chief justice of being responsible for attacks on important institutions and suggested PTI had become a shield for the miscreant. The SC registrar's office initially refused to accept the intra-court appeal, but later admitted it and allocated a number (641/2023).

Contrary to today's verdict, On 9 May, IHC deemed the arrest "legal" and ordered an inquiry into the incident by 16 May. The PTI chief was arrested from the IHC premises on 9 May afternoon while implementing an arrest warrant issued by NAB. The Al-Qadir Trust case involved the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan for contempt of court. Imran Khan was arrested by the Pakistan Rangers, a paramilitary force, following an earlier warrant issued by the National Accountability Bureau. The charges relate to a corruption case involving the payment of 5 billion Rupees (USD 17.5 million) to Imran Khan and his wife for legalizing a laundered sum of money. Khan denies the charges and faces dozens of corruption and other charges, including terrorism.

Khan's arrest contributes to several crises threatening Pakistan's stability, including record-high inflation and a spike in terrorist activity. His supporters are already out in the streets and likely will stay there for some time, and his arrest leads to mass protests. The protest has taken a violent turn as his support sought to vandalise and burning of public property and the houses of commanders. The high-profile- arrest has shaken the nation as the legality of the arrest is questioned by some and supported by the ruling coalition.
 
References
Umer Burney,” Imran bailed: IHC gives 2-week reprieve in Al-Qadir Trust case,” Dawn, 12 May 2023
Hasnaat Malik, “SC order on Imran's arrest to set legal course,” The Express Tribune, 12 May 2023
‘What is this love affair?’ Ministers take exception to SC’s ‘relief’ for Imran,” Dawn, 12 May 2023
Nasir Iqbal, “CJP ‘pleased’ to meet Imran, releases him,” Dawn, 12 May 2023

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