DEVELOPING STORYDEVELOPING STORY,
Meanwhile, the PTI party chief is set to arrive at the high court in Lahore with hundreds of his supporters to seek protective bail.
The Islamabad High Court has suspended the arrest warrants issued by a lower court in the capital against former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a corruption case and ordered him to appear before the court.
On Thursday, the sessions court in Islamabad had rejected Khan’s petition to suspend the warrants, prompting his lawyers to approach the high court on Friday.
“We will ensure Imran Khan’s appearance in court tomorrow (Saturday),” Khan’s lawyer Faisal Fareed Chaudhry told Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, Khan, who heads the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, has left his residence to seek protective bail from the Lahore High Court in various cases filed against him in the two cities.
Chairman PTI @ImranKhanPTI departs for Lahore High Court: pic.twitter.com/lquDV2Royu
— PTI (@PTIofficial) March 17, 2023
A large number of PTI workers and supporters – some armed with batons and iron rods – are accompanying the 70-year-old leader to the court building, about 5km (3 miles) from Khan’s Zaman Park residence.
The court has asked him to appear before a two-member bench by 5:30pm (11:30GMT).
Azhar Siddique, part of Khan’s legal team in Lahore, earlier told Al Jazeera Khan is seeking protective bail against the cases filed against him in Lahore and capital Islamabad. He said it was a routine matter to seek bails from higher courts in cases filed in another city.
“Four new cases have been registered here in Lahore against Imran Khan. And that is pertaining to the resistance that his supporters showed towards the police when they came to arrest him,” said Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from outside Khan’s residence in Lahore.
Earlier this week, the neighbourhood was the site of violent clashes between Khan’s supporters and the security forces who wanted to arrest him in an alleged corruption case.
Khan is accused of selling state gifts given to him when he was the prime minister from 2018 to 2022. He denies the charges.
In an interview to Al Jazeera on Thursday, Khan said he planned to appear before the Islamabad court.
PTI leader Cheema said Khan “never shied away from appearing before the court and it was only due to the security concerns”.
“Imran Khan never intended to embarrass the courts. All he said was that the location of the court is congested and he has genuine security concerns, due to which he asked for a possibility of clubbing all the cases together. However, he has now given assurance of his appearance in Islamabad tomorrow (Saturday). He will be there,” she said.
Khan, the former cricket star, also told Al Jazeera at least 85 cases have been filed against him after he was removed from office in a parliamentary vote in April last year.
Since then, he has been holding public rallies to demand immediate national elections. He was shot and wounded at one of those rallies in November.
In an interview with Al Jazeera on Thursday, Khan said the people who want to arrest him are the same people who attempted to assassinate him.
“I believe the same people now trying to put me in jail were responsible for the attempt on my life,” he said, without giving any names.