A car is seen burning along a road as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party activists and supporters of former Pakistan´s Prime Minister Imran block a road during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Karachi on May 9, 2023. — AFP

Qureshi, Asad not allowed to meet PTI chief ahead of hearing

by Pakistan News
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ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: With preparations underway for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s appearance in the Al-Qadir Trust case hearing at a special court, his lawyer Babar Awan on Wednesday said that the legal team was not allowed to meet the former premier.

Instead of bringing the PTI chief to a regular court for the hearing, the government has declared the location of the former premier’s custody the venue for the proceedings, the office of Islamabad chief commissioner said in a notification.

Imran Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), in a dramatic move, a day earlier in a corruption case involving a property tycoon. 

The PTI chief was then whisked away to the NAB office in the garrison town of Rawalpindi for interrogation.

The surprise move ensued violent clashes across the country, with hundreds of party workers including former federal minister Ali Zaidi, being apprehended.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) took notice of Khan’s arrest but later declared the detention legal while announcing the reserved verdict. Now, Khan’s legal team intends to challenge his arrest in the Supreme Court today.

Khan’s location of custody declared court for hearing

Khan, instead of being taken to F-8 Court Complex and Judicial Complex G 11/4, will be presented at New Police Guest House, Police Lines — which has been given one-time status of the court for this particular hearing.

The decision to present Khan at a special court instead of a NAB court was taken in view of security threats to his life. According to sources, the PTI chief was also shifted to an unknown place late at night from NAB’s office.

“[…] the Provincial Government, as a one-time dispensation, is pleased to declare New Police Guest House, Police Lines Headquarters H 11/1, Islamabad, the venue for hearing of case titled ‘District Election Commissioner Vs Imran Khan Niazi’ and for the appearance of Mr Imran Khan Niazi before Honorable Judge Accountability Court – I, Islamabad on 10th May 2023, instead of F-8 Court Complex, Islamabad and Judicial Complex G 11/4, Islamabad,” the notification issued by the provincial government, ICT read.

Police officials have also clarified that entry access to special court will be granted to people according to the court list, while the permission for coverage depends on the judges.

Protests erupt

As news of Khan’s arrest spread, his supporters in several cities took to the streets and clashed with security forces, who fired tear gas and tried to beat them back. Videos circulated on social media — which was also down in several parts of the country — showed some supporters wielding sticks and face masks entering state buildings and shouting angry slogans.

The cricketer-turned-politician faces a slew of court cases and is also set to be formally indicted today in a case that involved allegations he did not properly disclose earnings from the sale of state gifts from his time in office — Toshakhana case.

He will be presented before the accountability and magistrate court simultaneously and for the first time judges will go for the hearing at the guest house.

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