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LHC orders authorities not to ‘harass’ Imran Khan

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Tuesday ordered the authorities to not “harass” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan while hearing his plea seeking the details of the cases registered against him and the possibility of a police operation by the government at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore during Eid holidays.

The court earlier reserved its verdict on the petition filed by Khan.

The PTI chief appeared at the court himself for the hearing along with other leaders of his party.

The verdict stated that Khan should be treated according to the law as per the assurance given by the Punjab Government lawyer.

“Imran Khan should not be illegally harassed until the next hearing,” the court mentioned in its verdict.

A day earlier, Khan informed the provincial top court regarding fears that the government may launch a fresh “operation” during Eidul Fitr holidays at his Zaman Park residence in a bid to arrest him.

The PTI chairman shared his concerns during a hearing on his petition seeking details of cases registered against him across the country.

Meanwhile, the court has rejected the former prime minister’s request for holding an urgent hearing on the plea.

Khan’s case has been fixed for hearing on May 2, the court stated and added that there is no need for an urgent hearing.

Today’s hearing
Justice Ali Baqar Najafi headed the five-member bench hearing the former premier’s plea.

During the hearing, Khan’s counsel Barrister Salman Safdar said that an application was earlier filed by his client seeking dismissal of cases registered against him.

“We had withdrawn that plea and submitted a new one. The petition was referred by a two-judge bench to the full bench here,” he said.

“We have seen the petition and nothing seems of an urgent nature in it,” Justice Najafi said addressing Khan’s lawyer and asked him to assist the court regarding the point.

The PTI chief’s counsel said that it is impossible to get involved in all the cases listed. “We have confirmed reports of an [police] operation to be conducted on the day of Eid. [We] need relief for the five days of Eid,” he said.

Justice Najafi said that the court’s doors never close when responding to Safdar.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government’s counsel said that he didn’t think the petition was admissible. “If any legal action is to be taken, then there is no law for permission to be taken from them [Imran Khan],” he added.

The provincial government’s lawyer further mentioned that law enforcement personnel work according to the law. He added that the law is same for everyone.

“The law is same for all,” Justice Najafi said.

The Punjab government’s counsel also rubbished Khan’s claims regarding the possibility of the operation during Eid and that proceedings, according to the law, will continue in cases which already exist.

The high court’s judge asked the government’s lawyer if Khan will be allowed to celebrate Eid at his home after which the court echoed with laughter.

“We are not asking to stop an investigation,” Justice Ali Neelam said, adding that Khan be informed if there is any case he isn’t aware about in order to seek bail.

He should know about his cases, the provincial government’s lawyer said.

The court asked him about the number of cases for which a joint investigation team was formed.

“A JIT has been constituted to investigated 10 cases,” the government’s lawyer added.

He further said that the residents of Zaman Park are living in difficulty, as they cannot move around.

“We will work according to the law. Nothing will be illegal,” the Punjab’s lawyer said.

Justice Amjad Rafiq said that the investigation can also be suspended if there is no chance of the accused escaping, according to Section 157.

“This is the prerogative of the investigation officer. Petrol bombs were used there, our personnel were injured,” the government’s counsel said.

Khan, after his arrival at the rostrum, said he feared confirmed action from the words used by the Punjab government’s lawyer. “They attacked my house for 26 hours. I have confirmed information that they will conduct an operation.”

“We do not think they will do anything for five to six days,” Justice Najafi said.

The Punjab’s counsel said that the government won’t do anything outside the law.

“It gets doubtful when you say this,” Justice Neelam said.

Nothing should be special for anyone, the Punjab lawyer said.

“No one is following the Constitution here,” Khan said.

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