On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, ordered the appearance of Imran Khan, the chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), in court within an hour. This occurred during the hearing of PTI’s plea opposing Imran’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case. The bench, which also included Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, made it clear that PTI supporters would not be allowed in court. Despite the attorney general’s request for a day’s delay, the Chief Justice asserted that an immediate decision was imminent.
Justice Minallah strongly criticized the manner of Imran’s arrest, labeling it intolerable and likely to set a dangerous precedent. This sentiment was echoed by Hamid Khan, Imran’s lawyer, who described the arrest as violent and a contravention of judicial procedures. He informed the court that Imran had been in the process of having his biometrics taken when he was arrested by Rangers, who had forcibly broken into the premises.
The court scrutinized both the arrest warrant’s legal standing and its execution. Imran’s legal representatives contended that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had exceeded its jurisdiction and carried out actions without the required legal authorizations. In reaction to these claims, the Chief Justice referenced a past incident where NAB had been admonished for apprehending a suspect from the Supreme Court parking area. He also voiced concerns about the overwhelming presence of personnel during Imran’s arrest, a circumstance that had sparked fear among observers.
The court session concluded with a firm emphasis on the crucial role of justice accessibility. The judges echoed the notion that this concept was a fundamental pillar of the legal system and should not be undermined. They also communicated their anticipation for a thoughtful response from political leaders in relation to the court’s decisions. Justice Minallah wrapped up the session by stating that it was high time for the NAB to discontinue its contentious practices.