A two-member special division bench will take up Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s bail plea shortly a day after Supreme Court termed the former prime minister’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case “unlawful”.
Contrary to the IHC — which termed PTI chief’s arrest “legal”, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court deemed Khan’s arrest from the premises of the high court “illegal”, directing him to appear before the IHC today (Friday).
“The manner of execution of the arrest warrant issued by the Chairman, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) dated 01.05.2023 in the Al-Qadir Trust case within the premises of the Islamabad High Court against the petitioner is invalid and unlawful,” the ruling said.
Khan was whisked away from the IHC premises by paramilitary forces on Tuesday (May 9), leading to violent protests across the country. The PTI chief had immediately approached the high court for release but it had declared his arrest legal.
Al-Qadir Trust case
The cricketer-turned-politician will appear before a two-member bench seeking bail in Al-Qadir Trust case. IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq has formed a “special division bench” which comprises Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz to hear Khan’s bail plea.
“We are hopeful that bail will be granted by the High Court,” Faisal Hussain Chaudhry, a lawyer for Khan told reporters.
Since being ousted from office last April, Khan has waged a tempestuous campaign for snap elections and fired unprecedented criticism at the coalition government and military who he blames for pulling him from power.
He has accused senior military and government officials of plotting a November assassination attempt that saw him shot in the leg during a rally.
Ahead of today’s hearing, hundreds of police and paramilitary troops were deployed around the high court and the surrounding area, which was blocked by traffic.
Earlier today, Islamabad police issued an emergency order banning all gatherings in the capital city after PTI called for supporters to come together.
PTI lawyers were present at the rear gate of the IHC, while Rangers personnel stood outside the court building and Islamabad Police were deployed inside the premises.
According to Pak Revenue, PTI lawyers ahead of the hearing also urged the court staff to change the room as Court Room Number 3 — designated for the hearing — was “too small” for the hearing.
What is Al-Qadir Trust case?
The former prime minister, along with his wife Bushra Bibi and other PTI leaders, is facing a NAB inquiry related to a settlement between the PTI government and a property tycoon, which reportedly caused a loss of 190 million pounds to the national exchequer.
As per the charges, Khan and other accused allegedly adjusted Rs50 billion — 190 million pounds at the time — sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to the government.
They are also accused of getting undue benefit in the form of over 458 kanals of land at Mouza Bakrala, Sohawa, to establish Al-Qadir University.