Imran loses protective bail over no-show

After a day’s long confusion over whether or not PTI Chairman Imran Khan would appear before the Lahore High Court (LHC), his one protective bail was dismissed as “non-prosecution” despite promises that the former premier would appear before the court, while the second was adjourned till Monday after the party furnished an assurance regarding his appearance

Lack of coordination, confusion, mismanagement and disarrangement were witnessed on the part of the PTI’s leadership as well as its legal team that represented Imran in two separate benches at the LHC

LHC’s division bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi heard one protective bail case owing to offence 7-ATA along with others mentioned in the FIR

On the other hand, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh heard another protective bail in a separate case pertaining to the protests outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)

Single bench First, the proceedings of the single bench, headed by Justice Sheikh commenced, where the case took a new turn when the judge while keeping aside the issue about “petitioner’s presence into the court is prerequisite for getting protective bail” questioned the difference in Imran’s signatures on three documents – petition, affidavit and power of attorney

Justice Sheikh said that he would issue a contempt notice either to Imran or his counsel for deceiving the court

However, proceedings were adjourned for a short interval with the judge’s direction to PTI’s counsel Advocate Azhar Siddique to explain his position over the three documents

As the hearing resumed, Siddique argued that there were two major issues – first about Imran’s health and second about his security

He said that the PTI chief had survived an assassination attempt, adding that the Taliban groups had threatened to kill him

He asked how his client could appear before the court under such circumstances when there was no security clearance for him

Siddique contended that the court could constitute a commission and send it to the petitioner’s residence to testify his signatures or take his view through video link

Rejecting the advice of the counsel, the judge remarked that Imran should ensure his presence in the court or else his petition would be dismissed

As the proceedings started for the third time, Justice Sheikh said that Imran would have to confirm the signatures on oath

Advocate Siddique argued that the courts always showed the lenient view, saying they we are at the mercy of the court

He said that his client was having health issues, adding that he had been consulting the physicians

If doctors permit him and security assurance is given, Imran is ready to appear before the court and testify his signatures, he said

As proceedings continued for the fourth time, another senior counsel Khawaja Tariq Raheem appeared before the court and sought adjournment of the case

He ensured the court that Imran would appear before it, requesting the court to arrange their meeting with the IGP and LHC’s security

If they are given security clearance, Imran will not waist time in reaching LHC, he assured the court

Division bench Meanwhile, a division bench led by Justice Najafi conducted proceedings in a separate protective bail in a case registered in Islamabad Sangjani police against PTI leaders including party chairman Imran Khan

The case had been registered under different sections including 7-ATA over blocking Srinagar Highway, creating law and order and chaos, interfering in state matters, damaging state properties and the attacking police party

As the proceedings commenced, Justice Najafi asked where is the petitioner to which advocate Siddique told the court about his health and security issues

He then read the medical report and the advice of the doctors

Justice Najafi remarked that it had not been mentioned anywhere in the report that the petitioner could not move or even sit in the wheelchair

He said that if the petitioner does not appear before the court, his protective bail would be dismissed

Advocate Siddique argued that in the past protective bails had been granted to PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, Nazim Jokhio, Suleman Shehbaz Sharif and others despite the fact that they had not appeared before the courts

Justice Najafi remarked that the nature of those cases was different

"You only have three options, first either withdraw the petition, second this court will decide the matter and third the court could adjourn the matter till the time you assure the presence of the petitioner into this court," he added

On this, advocate Hassan Niazi, a close relative of Imran Khan, assured the court that he would appear before the court by 6:30pm

As the proceedings commenced, neither there was the petitioner nor his counsel

The associate counsels requested the court to stop proceedings for “only three minutes”, arguing that Advocate Siddique was coming from LHC's other court while Imran was on his way to LHC

Justice Najafi remarked that the court had assembled at the given time so the petitioner and his counsel should have been present in the court

Finally, the division bench dismissed the protective bail as non-prosecution

Confusion and mismanagement A lot of confusion and mismanagement was witnessed in the PTI’s camp

Both the leadership and legal team failed in tackling both matters being heard in two separate courts

First, mistakenly, the protective bail in that matter was filed at LHC wherein PTI had already been awarded relief by the Islamabad High Court

This petition was heard by Justice Sheikh

The actual protective bail in a case registered under section 7ATA was to be filed first but after the determination of the mistake it was filed later which was fixed in division bench headed by Justice Najafi

During proceedings in two separate courts, adjournments were sought for some time when the other court was to be heard at the same time

The situation seemed far worst when Justice Sheikh questioned the difference in petitioner’s signatures on three documents

Advocate Siddique tried his best to satisfy the court, saying they could not even think of doing it with courts, adding that if the court is not satisfied it could verify signatures from the petitioner

Meanwhile, lack of communication and coordination was observed when the division bench adjourned the case till 6:30pm with clear observation that the bail would be dismissed if the petitioner did not appear before the court

When the court assembled on said time, neither the petitioner nor his counsels were present

PTI leadership present at LHC today included Imran Ismail, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Farrukh Habib, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Ijaz Chaudhry, Azam Swati and others

Date:21-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link