LHC throws out Imran Khan’s protective bail plea in ECP protest case

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LAHORE: As Imran Khan failed to appear in person before the Lahore High Court (LHC), it rejected the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s plea seeking protective bail in a case registered against him over protests outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office.

The LHC announced the verdict as the PTI chief did not appear before the court even after multiple adjournments today.

Khan moved the high court after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad cancelled his bail in the same case a day earlier over non-appearance.

The ousted prime minister, who was removed from power via a no-confidence move, was booked in the case in October last year after the Toshakhana verdict was announced by the ECP, sparking countrywide protests. Khan had been on bail on medical grounds after he was injured in an assassination attempt in Wazirabad during a rally on November 3.

Today’s hearing

At the outset of the hearing, Advocate Azhar Siddique submitted his power of attorney on behalf of Imran Khan who was directed to appear before the court in person today.

“A meeting with Imran Khan’s doctors is going on and the party has concerns over his security,” the lawyer argued before the court and requested additional time.

“How much time do you need?” asked Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh.

To this query, the counsel said that they will try their best to ensure Imran Khan’s presence in two hours.

After hearing this, the court adjourned the hearing till 12:30pm.

Once the hearing resumed, Siddique’s associate requested more time. The court then adjourned the hearing till 2pm.

When the hearing resumed again, the counsel told the court that another bail plea has been filed. He also shared that they had met the doctors and are ready to follow court orders. The lawyer also told the court that the doctor of the former prime minister was also present in the court.

However, Justice Sheikh said that they do not want to hear from the doctor. “Imran Khan must appear in court,” he remarked.

The counsel then asked the court to wait for the other bail plea that was being filed.

“There is no need to wait for it, present your arguments on the current petition,” asked Justice Sheikh.

The lawyer then told the judge that he wants to withdraw the current petition.

At this, Justice Sheikh remarked the problem is that there are different signs of Imran Khan on the affidavit and power of attorney.

“How can the signatures be different?” asked the court.

Khan’s lawyer then asked the court to give him time to look into the matter.

“You look at it right now. Someone tried to commit fraud, I will issue contempt of court notice to you or Imran Khan,” remarked Justice Sheikh. He added that he will not allow the petition to be taken back till the issue is resolved.

“I will have to take instructions from Imran Khan on this,” responded Siddique.

The court then took notice of the different signatures and adjourned the hearing till 6:30 pm.

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