Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, is scheduled to appear before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday for pre-arrest bail under heavy security as his party called for supporters to gather outside the court for the leader’s address.
Khan was arrested Tuesday in the Al-Qadir Trust case by authorities following the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) order to probe him in the alleged corruption when he was present in the premises of the IHC.
The Supreme Court ordered his release as it instructed police to retain him under the protection of the Supreme Court and present him before the high court at 11 am. Although the IHC sustained his arrest, the Supreme Court on Thursday declared it was illegal and declared that no one may be arrested from inside the court.
“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 petitioner is invalid and unlawful,” the Supreme Court said in its written orders issued late at night.
The judge made a comment earlier in the hearing that since Khan had turned himself in to the High Court while he was present to obtain pre-arrest bail in the case, the entire process should recommence where it left off before his arrest.
“The petitioner is directed to be produced before the Islamabad High Court tomorrow i.e. 12.05.2023 at 11:00 am for hearing of his Writ Petition filed to challenge the NAB action against him in the Al-Qadir Trust Case,” it said in its orders.
Khan was also directed by court to follow the decision taken by the High Court on his plea.
“This (Supreme Court) order shall remain valid until the production of the petitioner before the High Court in the aforementioned Writ Petition tomorrow i.e. 12.05.2023 at 11:00 am and shall be subject to any order that is passed by the High Court,” the Supreme Court said.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf asked supporters to arrive at the G-13 area, which is close to the IHC, at 10 am for Khan’s address, implying that the party leader planned to speak before appearing in court because he was unsure whether the High Court would grant him relief.
The Islamabad Police was also instructed by the Supreme Court to make suitable preparations for the former premier’s security.
After two days of intense unrest that included vandalism, arson, and bloodshed, Khan asked his supporters to maintain calm earlier in his statement before the Supreme Court, fueling fears that the nation was headed towards civil war.
An atmosphere of peace was restored to the country after the Supreme Court intervened in the arrest case, but whether that serenity will last depends on what will happen to Khan, who is facing a number of lawsuits and hopping from one court to another court to get bail.