-Says ‘ready to talk to everyone’ for sake of Country, democracy
-Amid unrest, Shehbaz offers to parley with Imran to calm tensions
-PTI Chief reiterates to appear before Court tomorrow
-Claims arrest attempts aimed at killing him, fears torture if jailed
-Islamabad Court rejects Imran’s plea seeking suspension of arrest warrants in Toshakhana case
From Abid Usman
LAHORE: Amid worsening political turmoil in the country in the backdrop of recent clashes between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) activists and the law enforcers in connection with the possible arrest of Imran Khan, the deposed prime minister has said that he is ready to “talk to everyone” for the sake of the country’s interest, progress and democracy.
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, the PTI chairman said that he would not hesitate from rendering any sacrifice for Pakistan.
The development came a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended a dialogue offer to his predecessor while addressing a meeting held with a delegation of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) at the PM House. “All political parties should have to sit together to take the country forward,” he had said.
In another Tweet, Khan expressed heartfelt gratitude to the people who joined him in his struggle for “real freedom” and prayed for the success of his movement.
Earlier in the day, Imran Khan said that he believes in the rule of law and said, “I will appear in the court on March 18, then why is the whole drama being created?”
A district and sessions court in Islamabad had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Khan and instructed the police to arrest him and produce him before the court on March 18 in connection with the Toshakhana case.
Khan claimed that the attempts to arrest him were not being made to present him before the courts but to “kill” him.
Talking to journalists, the PTI leader expressed fears that he would be “subjected to torture” if he is arrested. “I’ve never refused to appear before the court, but they are calling me to a place where I have security concerns,” he said as he sustained injuries in an assassination attempt in Wazirabad on November 3, 2022.
On the other hand, An Islamabad district and sessions court on Thursday rejected PTI chairman Imran Khan’s plea seeking the suspension of non-bailable arrest warrants issued for the ex-premier in the Toshakhana case.
Announcing the verdict which was reserved earlier today, Additional District and Sessions (ADSJ) Judge Zafar Iqbal said the warrants could not be suspended on the basis of an undertaking.
He passed the order while hearing the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) reference seeking criminal proceedings against former prime minister Imran Khan for concealing details of Toshakhana gifts.
The written order said it was “quite obvious from the record that the applicant has never appeared in the court on any date of hearing and his personal appearance has been exempted on four occasions”.
It further said that many people had been injured and vehicles had been damaged in executing the arrest warrant and the PTI chief had “challenged the dignity and writ of the state”.
“Brutal force has been used in obstruction of police officials for discharge of their duty and after creating such [a] state of affairs, the applicant may not claim suspension of the warrant,” the order said.
It further said: “Keeping in view [the] law and order situation created by the applicant, he has lost some of the normal rights granted by procedural as well as substantive laws and he has to actually surrender before the court due to his defiance of [the] court process. Such eventuality is never appreciated by the court and it is regarded as willful default.”
The order said that law was equal for the powerful and weak segments of society and “it is not a fun (sic) to tender such an undertaking after causing such a great loss to the public exchequer as well as damage to persons and property”.