ISLAMABAD: Perturbed by the consistent absence of the PTI chairman, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed Imran Khan to appear in person on Thursday (today), else his petition seeking pre-arrest bail in eight cases would be rejected.
Mr Khan was scheduled to appear before the two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb on Wednesday.
His counsel Barrister Salman Safdar, however, informed the court that owing to pain in leg, the former prime minister cannot appear before the court and sought exemption from Mr Khan’s personal attendance.
The bench observed that “pain in leg” could not be accepted as a reason for his absence.
Justice Aurangzeb asked the counsel, “You are an expert in criminal law, can you cite any such precedence?”
The judge expressed apprehension that if the court set a precedence, criminals would use such a court order to seek similar relief.
“Is he privileged?” asked Justice Aurangzeb.
Barrister Safdar argued that Mr Khan’s case is not the same as routine criminal cases.
He pointed out that the incumbent government had got registered 140 cases in various parts of the country against the PTI chief in a span of mere three months for “political reasons”.
He said it is not humanly possible for Mr Khan to appear in all of these cases simultaneously.
He further argued that Mr Khan intended to appear before the IHC on Wednesday. However, he said, during his appearance before the five-member larger bench of Lahore High Court the other day he got injured due to stampede, adding that at age of 71 the healing process is slow and, therefore, his client was left with no other option but to seek exemption.
Chief Justice Farooq reminded the lawyer that Mr Khan had not joined the investigation as yet.
Barrister Safdar said the PTI chairman had given an undertaking to the LHC for joining the investigation and he would accompany him.
He argued that previously Mr Khan had sought exemption for security reasons but this was the first time that he was seeking it owing to medical reason.
Advocate General Islamabad Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon pointed out that the medical certificate annexed with the application for exemption had been issued by the Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital (SKMT). He said SKMT belongs to Mr Khan.
Justice Farooq observed that medical report of any private hospital could not be treated on a par with the certificate issued by a state-run hospital.
Mr Khan’s counsel said that since the former prime minister had remained under treatment at the SKMT for three-and-a-half months for injuries he suffered in a gun attack at a rally last year, he had submitted the medical certificate from that hospital.
The bench reminded the counsel that on April 18, the court order was very clear and warned that the bail granting order could be recalled over Mr Khan’s absence.
“We cannot amend this order,” observed Justice Farooq and directed the PTI chairman to appear in person on Thursday (today) otherwise the court would cancel his bail.