The Supreme Court on Thursday declared Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest from Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises illegal.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial announced the decision.
The court also ordered the PTI chairman to approach Islamabad High Court (IHC) tomorrow. However, it bound the former premier to comply with the decision of the high court.
This was announced minutes after Khan was presented before the Supreme Court amid tight security measures.
CJP remarked that the country was on fire after the arrest of PTI chairman and the court wants peace to prevail in the country.
The apex court had ordered to present Imran Khan in court within an hour, as it started hearing the former prime minister’s petition against his arrest in the NAB case. A three-member bench is taking up the plea.
Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, the bench also comprises Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah.
Directing the Islamabad police chief to present Imran in court by 4:30pm, CJP Bandial said no party leader or worker will accompany the PTI chief.
Justice Minallah questioned if the NAB should have taken the law into its hands.
The chief justice remarked that the court will not review the legality of the warrant but its compliance. He further remarked that no arrest should be made from any court premises.
“We will issue a verdict today,” CJP Bandial announced.
Court staff were also subjected to torture, claimed Advocate Shoaib Shaheen.
If someone is arrested despite surrendering to the court, will anyone trust the judiciary, questioned Justice Minallah.
The CJP noted that the accountability watchdog had assured the court it will not arrest anyone from court premises.
“On the same assurance, nine NAB officers were saved from contempt of court,” he recalled.
When CJP Bandial asked how many people arrested Imran Khan, his lawyer Salman Safdar replied they were 80 to 100 in number.
“Where did the respect of the judiciary go when 100 Rangers personnel entered the court premises,” the CJP asked in annoyance.
Justice Minallah observed that the act of surrendering before the court cannot be sabotaged.
Hamid Khan then sought an order for Imran Khan’s release.
The prosecutor told the court the NAB has prevented its officers from making arrests from court premises, adding the bureau was unaware of the arrest so it did not know about taking permission from the court registrar.
The registrar’s permission was not required under any law, the Islamabad advocate general said, adding it was not possible to arrest Imran Khan from anywhere else.
The entire process will have to be reversed from the stage where the arrest was made, observed Justice Minallah, adding the whole process will begin again from the biometric verification stage.
The judge noted that this is an ideal case for contempt of court, adding a lot has happened in the country, it is now time for supremacy of the law. He said an arrest in this manner cannot be tolerated.
Imran Khan was arrested from the Islamabad High Court premises on Tuesday afternoon when he arrived there for bail in various cases.
He was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau along with a heavy contingent of Rangers. He was first transferred to the NAB Rawalpindi office and later to Police Lines, Islamabad.
Meanwhile, another petition was filed with the Supreme Court earlier today against the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan in the NAB case.
The petition has also sought an investigation into the arrest and demanded his release.
The federation, Ministry of Defense and the NAB have been made parties to the petition. The counsel has requested that the Supreme Court order to ensure the safety of Imran Khan.
Meanwhile, a team of the NAB has formally begun an investigation against the PTI chairman.
An Islamabad Accountability Court had approved Imran Khan’s eight-day physical remand in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case on Wednesday.