An Islamabad anti-terrorism court on Thursday granted PTI chief Imran Khan interim bail in a case registered against him for his controversial remarks about a female judge during a rally in the capital last week.
Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan granted the bail till September 1 against a surety of Rs100,000.
Imran’s bail plea was filed in the court today prior to his arrival, with the petitioner contending that the terrorism case against the PTI chief was registered by police
as an “act of revenge”.
Security was tightened around the Federal Judicial Complex, where the hearing was held, with police and Frontier Corps personnel deployed at the site, the Dawn.com correspondent in the capital said. Roads in the complex’s surroundings have also been blocked.
The PTI, meanwhile, called on supporters to “come out on the streets and then head to Islamabad the next day” if Imran is taken into custody. “Clear directions from the party given!”
It also added a hashtag in Urdu, which says “Imran Khan is our red line”.
Today’s hearing began with Imran’s counsel, Babar Awan presenting his arguments.
Awan contended that none of the three individuals who Imran was accused of threatening at the Islamabad rally was a petitioner in the case.
Instead, Magistrate Ali Javed was the petitioner, he added.
Awan said a mere statement saying “have some shame” was being presumed as a threat.
The lawyer recalled that at the Islamabad rally, Imran had said the Islamabad inspector general of police and deputy inspector general of police would not be spared. The PTI chief had further warned additional district and sessions judge Zeba Chaudhry of taking action against her, he added.
“ We took action and approached the high court,“ Awan said.
The judge then asked whether a representative of the state was present at the hearing.
At that, Awan replied in the negative and informed the court that notices to them would be issued today.
“If there is no one from the prosecution, don’t present your arguments,” the judge told Awan.
During the hearing, Awan also brought it to the court’s attention that a new case — allegedly for violating Section 144 (ban on public gatherings exceeding four persons) in the capital on August 20 — was registered against Imran.
PTI leader Asad Umar had also been booked in this case even when he was in Lahore on August 20, he said.
Eventually, the court granted interim bail to Imran till September 1 against a surety of Rs100,000.
Awan, however, requested the court to extend the duration of bail, but the request was turned.
“I cannot grant bail for a longer period and will only grant it for a week. I am granting bail till September 1 and issuing a notice to police,” the judge said.
He also issued notices to the petitioner and prosecutor, seeking their replies, and adjourned the hearing.
Those taking decisions must think about the country: Imran
Speaking to reporters outside the court after the hearing, Imran said Pakistan had become a “laughing stock” in the world.
“Our party member Shahbaz Gill was subjected to torture and sexual abuse, and in response, I said I would take legal action against police officers concerned and a magistrate who sent him back to police on a remand despite the torture being proven. But, ironically, a terror case was filed against me,” he lamented.
He said the case was being reported across the world, with Pakistan being portrayed as a “banana republic”.
Without naming anyone, the PTI chief said: “Whoever is taking such decisions should think about the country. They are afraid of the PTI’s power and the victories of the party in by-elections.”
The former premier added that the country was being “mocked just because [some people] want to protect their own selves and for a technical knockout.”
Imran’s remarks at the rally
Imran was booked under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (punishment for acts of terrorism) on Sunday for “threatening” a female judge and senior police officers at a public rally in Islamabad a day earlier.
At the rally, he had warned the judiciary against its “biased” attitude towards his party, saying that it should brace itself for the consequences.
The former prime minister had also warned additional district and sessions judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved the two-day physical remand of his aide Shahbaz Gill’s on the request of the capital police in a sedition case, that she, too, would face dire consequences.
Moreover, the PTI chief had threatened to file cases against Islamabad’s inspector general of police and deputy inspector general of police, saying, “We won’t spare you.”
On Monday, the Islamabad High Court granted him protective bail for three days with the direction to seek bail from the sessions court before the expiry of the three-day period.
The FIR against Imran was registered at Islamabad’s Margalla police station at on the complaint of magistrate Ali Javed.
The FIR said that at the PTI’s rally at F-9 park a day ago, Imran had “terrorised and threatened top police officials and a respected female additional sessions judge” in his address.
The FIR reproduced the PTI chairman’s comments where he spoke about the female judge and the Islamabad police officials.
In his address on Saturday, Imran had threatened to file cases against Islamabad’s inspector general of police and deputy inspector general of police and said: “We won’t spare you.”
The former premier had also taken exception to Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the capital police, and said she should “prepare herself as action would be taken against her”.
The FIR argued that Imran’s speech was meant to “terrorise” top police officials and the judiciary so they could not perform their functions and abstain from pursuing any action against any PTI-related individual if required to do so.
The magistrate argued that Imran’s speech had spread fear and uncertainty among the police, judges and the nation. “Terrorism has been spread the country’s peace has been harmed,” he added.
The FIR requested that legal action be pursued against Imran and an “exemplary punishment” be meted out.