LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: While a sessions court in Lahore sought reply from police on a petition challenging their refusal to book Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for allegedly ‘ridiculing’ the army, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday asked the ex-premier to join the investigation against him over his alleged threats to a judge.

The sessions court sought a reply from SP investigation and additional district complaint officer by Sept 10 on a petition challenging police refusal to register a case against Mr Khan on the charge of ridiculing the institution of army in his recent power show in Faisalabad.

Ex-officio justice of peace and additional district and sessions judge Ghulam Hussain Bhinder was hearing the petition filed by one Sheikh Muzaffar Hussain, under Section 22-A and 22-B of the criminal procedure code.

The petitioner through a counsel contended that he filed an application with the Samanabad police for registration of a criminal case against the PTI chief for ‘scandalising’ senior army officers. He alleged that Mr Khan through his statement attempted to create a rift among the senior army officers and tried to portray them as ‘less patriotic’. He said the PTI chief’s act amounted to the offence of ‘sedition’ under the law, which was liable to be prosecuted following registration of a case.

IHC orders PTI chief to join probe into alleged threats against Islamabad judge

However, he said, the SHO flatly refused to act in accordance with law on the application of the petitioner without any legal justification. He argued that the police were legally bound to register a case against the accused person nominated in the application in accordance with the provision of Section 154 of the CrPC. He requested the court to order police to register a case against Mr Khan under relevant provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Probe into threats to judge

Meanwhile, the IHC asked the PTI chief to join the investigation in the case registered against him for allegedly hurling threats to an additional district and sessions judge and top officers of Islamabad police.

The IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz heard the petition seeking to quash the FIR against Mr Khan.

Barrister Salman Safdar, counsel for the PTI chief, argued before the court that the police incorporated some more section of law into the FIR.

On the court’s query, Advocate General for Islamabad Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon said police had not yet filed challan before the anti-terrorism court, as Mr Khan had not joined the investigation.

When the court asked if the investigation officer had ever tried to approach Mr Khan, the AG replied that the officer had served notice at his residence, but the IO was not given access to the PTI chief.

The court asked the counsel for Mr Khan to advise their client to join the investigation since the case is at the preliminary stage.

The chief justice remarked that the IO represented the state and in case of any lapse, the court were always there to watch over. He said this was a test case for the police itself, adding that the IO should scrap the FIR if the case was not made out.

The court asked the AG to inform the court in case the police would face any issue to access Mr Khan.

The bench, however, ordered the prosecution to submit the challan and adjourned hearing till Sept 15.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2022

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