• Sunday, June 16, 2024

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Pakistan court reserves decision on Imran Khan’s exemption plea in terrorism case

The former prime minister’s lawyer stated that given the judicial complex’s security risks, Khan would have been vulnerable to assassination had he attended the hearing

The lawyer expressed concern about the security situation surrounding Khan’s appearances (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

On Tuesday (21), an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad postponed a ruling on the request by former prime minister Imran Khan to be excused from attending a hearing related to a terrorism case against him.

Khan’s legal representative, Sardar Masroof Khan, was present in court to file the exemption request on behalf of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader.

During the hearing at the ATC, the lawyer Khan presented an argument before Judge Raja Jawad Abbas. He pointed out that Khan, who is 70 years old, had previously appeared at the Islamabad judicial complex, which was publicly visible.

The lawyer further stated that given the complex’s security risks, Khan would have been vulnerable to assassination had he attended the hearing.

Khan’s lawyer clarified that despite his client’s desire to appear in court, the current circumstances made it infeasible for him to do so.

Violent clashes erupted outside the Islamabad Judicial Complex as Khan arrived from Lahore for a hearing in the Toshakhana case. The confrontation between PTI workers and police left over 25 security personnel injured, and the hearing was postponed until March 30.

Khan’s lawyer informed that he is required to appear before the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday (21).

The lawyer expressed concern about the security situation surrounding Khan’s appearances, citing previous attacks on him and subsequent legal action.

Khan had previously filed a plea with the LHC for contempt of court proceedings against the police operation at his Lahore residence on March 18, and the plea will be heard on Tuesday (21).

On Saturday, while Khan was in Islamabad for the Toshakhana case hearing, over 10,000 armed Punjab police personnel raided his Lahore residence and arrested several of his party workers.

ATC Judge Abbas raised a concern regarding Khan’s appearance before the LHC, as it is located at least 400 kilometres away from Islamabad.

“If Imran Khan appears before the LHC by 3:30 pm, then fine, otherwise a decision will be taken,” the judge remarked and asked if there was any guarantee that Khan would appear in court at the next hearing if the request for exemption from attendance is approved on Tuesday.

Khan’s lawyer assured the court that his client follows the law and would appear in court “if he is alive.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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