LAHORE: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Thursday allowed one-time permission to former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to appear before it via video link in the cases registered against him under terrorism charges.
The court also extended his bail till May 4 in two out of three terror cases.
ATC Judge Ijaz Ahmed Buttar passed the orders after his counsel Advocate Salman Safdar argued that his client had serious security threat. He asked the court to allow him through the video link.
Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head SSP Imran Kishwar appeared before the court along with the case record.
The judge asked him if Imran Khan’s arrest was required in the cases. On it, the JIT head said that Khan’s arrest was not required in the third case registered against him. At this, the counsel representing Imran Khan asked the court that they wanted to withdraw the bail plea in the case.
Meanwhile, the PTI Chairman appeared before the court via a video link.
At this, the court allowed relief to Imran Khan in two cases and allowed withdrawal after the police informed the court that they did want to arrest Imran Khan in the third case.
The Lahore police had registered these three cases against Khan in connection to the clashes between PTI workers and police during an operation to arrest Khan in the Toshakhana case, and Zille Shah’s murder.
Earlier in the day, the ATC judge expressed concerns over absence of Imran Khan in three cases.
PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhary and Hammad Azhar appeared before the court. As they appeared before the court, the judge while addressing them observed that they had not been on the bail till this date and the police could arrest them.
On it, Fawad Chaudhary said, “Thank God, police did not know,”.
Fawad Chaudhary also asked the court to allow him to speak in the case along with the legal team. The court accepted his plea and allowed him to speak. On it, Fawad said that the cases registered against them were based on malafide intention.
At this, the judge remarked that if there was any single case when there had not been any occurrence, so how he could say that the cases were based on malafide intention.
Fawad said that the same cases were pending before the Lahore High Court as they had challenged these cases before it. The judge observed, “I will decide the bail matters as per the powers granted to him under the law. High court did not bar me from hearing this case,”.
Fawad Chaudhary asked the court to quash the case against him and other party leaders.
Later, Fawad and Hammad Azhar talked to the media and said that the coalition government was running away from the elections. They said the PTI leaders were booked in fake cases. If the Supreme Court verdict is not implemented then there will be tantamount to damaging the country’s top court.
Fawad Chaudhary said that the coalition government was using the whole machinery against the Supreme Court. He said the lawyers community was standing with the Supreme Court.