LAHORE, March 17, 2023: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday extended its order halting an operation to arrest Imran Khan till 3pm.
Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh issued the order while hearing a petition filed by PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry to stop police from action at Zaman Park after supporters of the former prime minister fought pitched battles with security forces when police tried to arrest Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case.
At the outset of the hearing, Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Anwar said the chaos was witnessed after rules were defied. Referring to Thursday’s meeting with PTI leaders at the chief secretary office, he said it had been decided that the political party would appoint a focal person.
At one point, Justice Sheikh in conversation with Fawad Chaudhry said they should approach the IGP for security, adding that they could move courts on unsatisfactory response from the authorities. He said containers should be used for exports instead of placing them as barricades.
Mr Chaudhry told court that police wanted access to arrest people, adding that 500 unknown persons had been nominated in a case registered after clashes between law enforcers and PTI supporters. He feared that such moves would further heighten the tension.
During the hearing, the PTI lawyer said petitions for protective bail of the former prime minister had been filed, adding that Imran Khan would appear before the LHC to attend the hearing.
When the IGP requested the court to issue a verdict on the arrest warrants of the PTI, Justice Sheikh said the decision would be made at 3pm and adjourned the hearing.
The first order by the LHC to postpone the Zaman Park operation came on Wednesday when the Islamabad police, backed by the Punjab police and Rangers, mad a push to arrest the ex-premier in connection with the Toshkhana case. Imran has skipped indictment for four times, which led to the judge issuing non-bailable arrest warrant against him.
However, the law enforcers were met with strong resistance from PTI workers who threw stones at them and allegedly used petrol bombs. Police had responded with volleys of tear gas.