Islamabad ATC rejects Imran’s bail in ECP case

ISLAMABAD: An Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) rejected on Wednesday PTI chairman and for-mer prime minister Imran Khan’s request for an extension in his interim bail. The plea was made in a case pertaining to a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) following its decision in the Toshakhana case.
The verdict was announced by Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan on the grounds of non-appearance in court.
In a short order released yesterday the court said: “It has transpired from the available record that multifarious opportunities have been provided to the present applicant [Imran] to put up appearance before the court but to no avail.” It recalled that the PTI chief’s instant pre-arrest bail was preferred on Oct 24, however, he failed to appear before the court on Oct 31, Nov 21, Nov 28, Dec 9, Dec 19, Jan 10, Jan 31, Feb 10 and twice to-day.

“Due to the protracted nature of the instant bail application, the matter can not be stretched for an indefinite period, thus no further opportunity seeking dispensation from personal attendance shall be allowed,” the court said.

“Ergo, the instant application seeking dispensation from personal attendance in medical grounds for today is accordingly dismissed.”

The order further said that it is “sine qua non” (absolutely necessary) for the petitioner to put up an appearance before the court on the date when the matter was fixed for the final order.
“Therefore, instant pre-arrest bail petition is dismissed due to non-appearance of petitioner Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi,” it added.

The terrorism case was filed against Imran in Oct 2022 after PTI workers took to the streets and held demonstrations outside ECP offices across the country, after it disqualified the former prime minister in the Toshakhana reference.

Soon after the verdict was announced, the PTI leadership asked people to take to the streets. Clashes were also reported between the police and protesters in Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi.

Earlier today, the court rejected the ex-premier’s request for exemption from appearance on medical grounds. “Imran Khan should appear in court by 1:30pm,” the ATC judge said in an order announced at 1:20pm. –Agencies