ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the arrest of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan illegal and ordered his immediate release in the Al-Qadir Trust case on Thursday. The apex court advised the PTI chief to approach the Islamabad High Court again.
Security measures taken to avoid any untoward incidents
The court had earlier directed the authorities to present the PTI chief by 4:30 pm but he was produced in the court at around 5:40 pm with a delay of over an hour. Strict security arrangements were made in the federal capital’s Red Zone area to avoid any untoward incident from happening.
Apex court bench expresses concern
A three-member apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, had earlier stated that PTI workers will not be allowed to come to the court. Dismissing the attorney general’s request to be given a day’s time, the CJP stated that the court would issue an appropriate order today and was “very serious” about the matter.
Questions raised over NAB’s actions
According to the court, the arrest of Imran Khan will “set a wrong precedent.” Commenting on the PTI chief’s arrest, Justice Minallah questioned why the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) took the law “into its own hands.” Imran’s lawyer Hamid Khan informed the court that the former premier had appeared before the Islamabad High Court to get bail in the NAB case, and that the Rangers appeared when Imran was getting his biometrics done.
Court reviews legality of warrant and compliance
The CJP commented that according to court orders, the bail application was filed but not fixed. He asked if, as per the record, the case scheduled was for another matter. Justice Minallah questioned if the application was filed before the biometrics. To this, the lawyer stated that the application could not be filed without biometrics. The chief justice stated that the incident was a matter of respect for the judiciary.
Court issues decision applicable to every citizen
The CJP maintained that the court would review the legality of the warrant and its compliance. The chief justice said that whatever happened due to the arrest should have been prevented, and that it did not mean that legal action could be ignored. He stated that the court wanted to issue a decision that would be applicable to every citizen.