Pak court warns Imran of bail cancellation for missing hearing

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Islamabad: A Pakistani court on Wednesday warned former prime minister Imran Khan that it may cancel his interim bail as it expressed its staunch dissatisfaction over the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief’s persistent absence from court hearings in various cases, according to a media report.

Hearing Khan’s interim bail plea in a case involving murder attempt charges filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz parliamentarian Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha last year, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq said that the former premier has made a “joke out of the courts” and asked him to appear in the court on Wednesday itself, the Dawn newspaper reported.

More than 100 cases have been registered against Khan since he was voted out of office through a no-confidence motion in April last year. But he has not been arrested in any of the cases so far.

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In a few of the cases, including the mutiny and inappropriate language against the Pakistani Army, the 70-year-old leader has been given anticipatory bail by the High Court with conditions that he would be present in the court hearings without fail to which he has agreed.

On Wednesday, while hearing the case filed by PML-N’s Ranjha, Justice Farooq asked Khan to be present in court the same day itself after expressing his dissatisfaction over the former premier’s persistent absences in various cases.

“If the petitioner, Imran Khan, does not appear during court timings [today], will dismiss the interim bail. The judge added that the former premier has made a joke out of the courts,” the report quoted Justice Farooq as saying.

On October 23, 2022, Ranjha lodged a criminal complaint claiming that the shot fired by a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa policeman outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Constitution Avenue on October 21, 2022, was “an attempt on his life” allegedly at the behest of Khan.

The disqualification of Khan in the Toshakhana case had sparked protests in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, especially at Faizabad, resulting in the arrest of three people — a PTI lawmaker and his two police guards.

The clash between the protesters and police had started outside the ECP soon after the verdict disqualifying Khan when the KP police guard of Member of National Assembly Saleh Mohammad fired a gunshot.

On April 18, the IHC had extended Khan’s bail in eight cases — including those pertaining to violence outside the Federal Judicial Complex — till May 3, the report said.

Accepting the PTI chairman’s request for a bail extension and exemption from court appearance that day, Justice Farooq had made it clear then that Khan’s interim bail in all the cases will be cancelled if he did not appear in court on Wednesday, the report said.

However, shortly after the court proceedings, PTI Senator Shibli Faraz said in a tweet that Imran “respected the courts” and implied that the reason for the PTI chief’s absence was his leg getting “injured again” during his appearance at the Lahore High Court on Tuesday.

He wrote: “Imran Khan’s leg got injured again yesterday at the Lahore High Court due to the jostling brought about because of the lack of security provided by the government.

“Doctors have advised [Imran] to rest for 10 days. Upon recuperating, he will again face the cases filed on political bases. [Imran] Khan sahib respects the courts,” the PTI senator was quoted as saying in the report.

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( With inputs from )

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