By: Shubham Ghosh
A Pakistani court on Tuesday (28) issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against former prime minister Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case but he was granted bail in two other cases, amid high drama outside the court premises where hundreds of his supporters converged in support of their leader.
Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief, travelled from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore to Islamabad to appear in three cases here in the federal capital.
Additional sessions judge Zafar Iqbal issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against the 70-year-year-old prime minister in the Toshakhana case.
The court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Khan and adjourned the hearing till March 7 for his repeated failure to appear before the court.
His indictment, in this case, was earlier postponed twice due to his absence. Khan has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.
The former cricketer-turned-politician was, however, granted bail by the Anti-Terrorism court (ATC) as well as the banking court in the prohibited funding case as he appeared here in the judicial complex as hundreds of his supporters thronged the vicinity. Meanwhile, ATC judge Raza Jawed granted Khan interim bail till March 9.
The Islamabad Police had registered a terrorism case against Khan and senior PTI leaders for allegedly vandalising state property in response to the Toshakhana case. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in October last year filed a case in an Islamabad-based banking court against Khan and other PTI leaders over allegedly receiving prohibited funding. The Election Commission of Pakistan last year found the party guilty of concealing that it had received the money and also disqualified Khan.
The prohibited funding case was filed by estranged PTI founding member Akbar S Babar in the ECP in 2014. Khan has not attended any hearings since November last year when he was injured in an assassination attempt at his rally in the Wazirabad area of Punjab. Khan was granted interim bail by a special court in Islamabad after being shot during the assassination attempt. He has since received extensions on his bail due to medical reasons.
Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan. The PTI chief, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.