Imran’s arrest warrants cancelled after day-long chaos


PTI chief marks attendance amid chaos, clashes which mar court proceedings; Hearing adjourned till March 30; 10 cops including SSP injured by PTI men’s pelting

PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest warrants in Toshakhana case were cancelled on Saturday as Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal allowed him to leave after marking his attendance due to clashes between Islamabad Police and PTI workers outside the Judicial Complex.

The hearing was adjourned till March 30 (Thursday) due to the turbulence and chaos witnessed Saturday, with the judge ordering Imran to appear in personal capacity in the next hearing.

As Imran and his motorcade earlier reached outside the Islamabad Judicial Complex, he alleged that he was not being allowed to enter the court’s premises.

In an audio message released to the media, Imran said: “I am waiting outside the [judicial complex’s] door for 15 minutes and am fully trying to enter but they’ve done teargas [shelling] and erected checkpoints and it seems they don’t want that I reach here.”

Despite that, he reiterated that he was outside the complex and was attempting to enter it.  A large number of party workers, who were accompanying the former prime minister, were attempting to escort him onto court premises, but due to security arrangements, they were not being allowed to.

Pemra had banned television coverage of the Judicial Complex and political rallies.
As the hearing resumed, the ex-premier’s legal team submitted a plea on his behalf in court stating that Imran was present outside the judicial complex. “He has been present outside for an hour,” it said.

The plea added that the police were shelling at him and preventing him to enter the court.
“Send your staff outside to accept my appearance,” Imran stated in the plea. “Send the Islamabad police a notice of contempt of court”.

At this Judge, Iqbal said: “Since you have submitted a plea, I can send a court official outside.”

“Go outside and bring Imran inside the premises along with his car,” the judge told a court official. “Tell the police to let the accused come inside according to the SOPs”.

During all this, a teargas shell hit a window of the courtroom. In order to reduce the effects of the teargas, the courtroom’s door was closed.

Later, the judge told the ECP lawyer that the hearing should take place. “But what should we do if the situation is like this?” ADSJ Iqbal asked.

At this, PTI lawyer Babar Awan contended that the court should send an official outside to record Imran’s attendance. He requested the court to exempt the PTI chairman from appearing before the court.

During the proceedings, a PTI worker barged into the courtroom. “I’ve been coordinating with the party since Lahore,” he said. “They (PTI workers) were pelted stones and they (police) started beating me”.

Awan told the court that the situation was “messy” outside. “Take my word, give an exemption today”.

The court ordered to take Imran’s signature at the gate. “Take his signatures at the gate, His attendance will be recorded,” Judge Iqbal said. “Today the hearing is actually not possible.”

“Leave everything, I’ll do something about the date,” he added. “Let the signatures be done then we can discuss further.”

Judge Iqbal further stated to take signatures from Imran and ask him to leave.
As the hearing resumed again, ADSJ Iqbal asked Advocate Harris about his views on “indictment”.