Imran Khan’s protective bail plea rejected

From Abid Usman

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 terror case registered against him over alleged van-dalism during the protests in Islamabad against his disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The ousted prime minister, who was removed from power via a no-confidence move, was booked in the terror case in October last year after the Toshakhana verdict was announced by the ECP, sparking countrywide protests.
The FIR stated that the PTI activists pelted stones at the police, FC, and administration officials, injuring several. It stat-ed that the protestors tried to ram their cars into police with the intention of murder, set trees on fire in Faizabad and the surrounding areas and tried to harm government property. The terror case was lodged on the state’s behalf at Is-lamabad’s Sangjani police station.
Earlier in the day, Azhar Siddique — Khan’s counsel — filed a plea in the LHC seeking a 15-day protective bail for his client. In his plea, the PTI leader said that he respects the court, adding that he wanted to approach Islamabad’s courts but there are fears of his arrest.
The doctors have recommended he rest completely after a “failed assassination” attempt, the plea said, urging the high court to grant him a 15-day protective bail.

A two-member LHC bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and comprising Shehbaz Rizvi heard the plea.

During the proceedings, Khan’s counsel cited some examples in which protective bail was granted to the suspect in absentia.

“You have filed the plea to avoid possible arrest [of Khan]. We know the rule that in-person appearance is mandatory for bail before arrest,” remarked Justice Najafi.

“It was not written in [Khan’s] medical report that he cannot come in a wheelchair,” he added. At this, the lawyer re-quested the court to give him some time for consultation.

Justice Rizvi remarked that Khan should have appeared before the court. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till 6 pm.

Khan failed to appear before the court even after the break. At this, the court dismissed Khan’s plea for protective bail over non-appearance.