Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq on Wednesday asked PTI Chairman Imran Khan to appear in court today after expressing his dissatisfaction over the former premier’s persistent absences in various cases.
Hearing Imran’s interim bail plea in a case involving murder attempt charges filed by PML-N MNA Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha last year, the IHC CJ said, “If the petitioner, Imran Khan, does not appear during court timings [today], will dismiss the interim bail.”
The judge added that the former premier “has made a joke out of the courts”.
On Oct 23, 2022, Ranjha had lodged a criminal complaint claiming that the shot fired by a KP policeman outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Constitution Avenue on Oct 21, 2022 was “an attempt on his life” allegedly at the behest of Imran.
The disqualification of Imran in the Toshakhana case had sparked protests in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, especially at Faizabad, resulting in the arrest of three people — a PTI lawmaker and his two police guards.
The clash between the protesters and police had started outside the ECP soon after the verdict disqualifying Imran when the KP police guard of MNA Saleh Mohammad fired a gunshot.
Accepting the PTI chairman’s request for a bail extension and exemption from court appearance that day, Justice Farooq had made it clear then that Imran’s interim bail in all the cases will be cancelled if he did not appear in court on May 3.
During the hearing today, Advocate Naeem Haider Panjhuta appeared as Imran’s counsel.
Imran’s interim bail plea in other cases will be heard by an IHC two-member bench at 2pm today. One of the cases pertains to making allegations against top officers of state institutions and inciting mutiny — in which he was granted protective bail on April 14 — and will be heard by a division bench.
At the outset of the hearing, Justice Farooq asked Advocate Panjhuta about Imran’s whereabouts. The lawyer replied, “He cannot come. [He] has filed an application for exemption [from court appearance today].”
The IHC CJ then asked about the application’s whereabouts to which Panjhuta responded that it had been filed.
Justice Farooq then remarked: “Either we have sunk beneath him or he has risen above us.
“If the petitioner, Imran Khan, does not appear during court timings [today], we will dismiss the interim bail,” he warned Imran’s lawyer.
The IHC CJ proceeded to remark: “[He] has made a joke out of the courts. A high court has been thought of as a civil court. A joke has been made out of the courts.”
The court then called a recess in the hearing till Imran appeared in court today.