Pakistan’s Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday refuted reports that emergency would be imposed in the country and said that no such decision was taken during the cabinet session.
State broadcaster PTV news quotes her as saying: The reports in the media about the implementation of emergency in the country are baseless. No decision was taken in the cabinet meeting regarding the implementation of the state of emergency.” She requested the media not to run any news without verifying it first.
The reports of the emergency came after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) barred authorities from arresting PTI chairman Imran Khan in cases, including those that are undisclosed, registered across the country until Monday, May 15, Dawn reported.
The court also granted protective bail to the former prime minister in three terrorism cases registered against him in Lahore and the Zille Shah murder case.
Earlier in the day, a separate IHC bench accepted Imran’s bail in the Al-Qadir Trust case for two weeks.
The verdict came a day after the Supreme Court termed his arrest “invalid and unlawful”.
It also stopped authorities from arresting the PTI chief till May 17 in any case registered in Islamabad after May 9, Dawn reported.
A division bench, comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz, granted Imran a two-week bail in the Al-Qadir Trust case, in connection with which the Rangers had whisked him away from the Islamabad premises on May 9.
The PTI chief’s bail plea was heard and disposed of in courtroom No.2.
During the hearing, Justice Aurangzeb asked Imran if he condemned the violence that ensued after his arrest, to which the PTI chief’s lawyer replied in the affirmative. The judge then asked the former premier to submit a declaration in court stating the same.
The hearing had initially begun after a nearly two-hour delay, with the media reporting that officials were conducting a security sweep outside the courtroom, Dawn reported.
But it was halted shortly after it began at 1 pm on account of Friday prayers.
Geo news, meanwhile, reported that judges had left the courtroom after “pro-Imran” slogans were raised.
When the hearing resumed after 2.30 pm (local time), Imran was present in the courtroom as his legal team and lawyer Khawaja Haris presented his arguments, Dawn reported.
Haris contended before the court that the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) actions were illegal, saying that the NAB could only issue an arrest warrant after an inquiry had formally been turned into an investigation.
He said the PTI got to know through media reports that NAB had formally initiated an investigation against Imran. Harris also said the PTI chief had approached the IHC on May 9 seeking the NAB report in the inquiry but was arrested before he could enter the courtroom.
At one point during the hearing, the court asked the petitioner if he was provided with a questionnaire in connection with the case, to which Haris replied in the negative.
He said Imran was issued a call-up notice which he did not appear for but, instead, submitted a written reply. Haris further said the accountability watchdog was “biased”.
The court then accepted Imran’s bail plea, directing the NAB prosecutor general and Imran’s lawyers to come prepared at the next hearing. It also said that it would decide whether Imran’s bail should be cancelled or extended at the next hearing, Dawn reported.
After the hearing concluded, Dawn.com’s correspondent outside the court said a sea of PTI workers and supporters celebrated in the streets.
Separately, an IHC bench comprising Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri and Justice Ejaz Ishaq Khan granted the PTI chief protective bail in three terrorism cases registered against him in Lahore for 10 days.
During the hearing, the PTI chief told the court that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had warned of arresting him again, saying that there was no rule of law in the country currently.
Earlier, Justice Jahangiri also approved Imran’s protective bail in a case pertaining to the death of Zille Shah, a PTI worker who was killed during a party rally in Lahore earlier this year, for 10 days against surety bonds worth PKR 50,000, Dawn reported.
On the other hand, the ruling coalition — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) president Maulana Fazal-Ur-Rehman called on the nation to march towards Supreme Court and protest against the release of Imran Khan. He asked the party workers to resort to violence if touched or harmed by the security forces.
(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)