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Pakistan: Judge offers former PM Imran Khan protection from arrest in Toshakhana case if he surrenders in court

Imran Khan was issued non-bailable arrest warrants on Monday by Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ), Zafar Iqbal, who also ordered the police to take him to court by March 18.

A Pakistan court judge on Thursday, said that he would halt the arrest of the country’s former prime minister Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case, only if Khan surrendered in the court, Dawn reported.

The bench of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ), Zafar Iqbal made the above remarks while hearing the reference of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that sought criminal proceedings against Imran for hiding details of Toshakhana gifts. According to a report in Dawn, the PTI Chairman was scheduled to be indicted in the reference by the sessions court on February 28, but his attorney had asked the judge to excuse him from the hearing since he had to show up in numerous other courts. He had previously had his indictment postponed several times.

Khan was then issued non-bailable arrest warrants, and the judge ordered the police to bring him before the court by March 7. The PTI leader avoided being taken into custody and then petitioned the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to have the warrants revoked.

The former prime minister of the country was given some reprieve by the IHC, but was still instructed to appear in the sessions court on March 13; nevertheless, the former prime minister again skipped the hearing.

As a result, Khan was granted new non-bailable arrest warrants on Monday by ADSJ Iqbal, who also ordered the police to take him to court by March 18.

PTI supporters and law enforcement agents engaged in two days of fierce combat when the police attempted to arrest Imran at his Zaman Park mansion in Lahore on Tuesday. After the courts got involved on Wednesday, the fights eventually stopped.

The most recent arrest warrants for Imran were also contested by the PTI on the same day before the IHC. The PTI leader was told to give the trial court an undertaking stating that he would appear at the hearing on March 18 after the plea was rejected.

The case was picked up again by the ADSJ Iqbal court on Thursday morning. Khawaja Haris Ahmed and Babar Awan, Imran’s attorneys, were present.

A report published in Dawn read legislators from the ruling coalition filed the reference last year, alleging that Imran had not disclosed information about the gifts he had received from the Toshaskhana (during his tenure as prime minister) and the money from their alleged sales. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reached the conclusion that the former premier had in fact made “false statements and erroneous declarations” about the presents on October 21.

The Toshakhana is a division of the Cabinet Division that houses presents that foreign dignitaries and the heads of other states have given to monarchs and officials.

Imran was declared ineligible according to Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution, according to the order.

The ECP then submitted a copy of the reference to the Islamabad Sessions Court, requesting that Imran be charged with a crime for allegedly lying to officials about the gifts he received from foreign dignitaries while serving as prime minister, Dawn reported. 

(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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