Imran Khan is permitted to return by the Pakistani court without being charged in the Toshakhana case
In the midst of a standoff between Imran Khan's supporters and security forces who have attempted to detain him for skipping numerous prior hearings, a local court in this city on Saturday allowed him to return without being indicted in a corruption case after he marked his attendance outside the court complex.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) filed a complaint against Khan, the 70-year-old leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, alleging that he omitted information about gifts from his asset declarations. Khan was due to appear before ADSJ Zafar Iqbal's court to participate in the proceedings.
After waiting for hours for Khan to arrive in court, Judge Iqbal accepted his lawyer's recommendation to have the former premier sign the attendance sheet inside his car in order to meet with the court's in-person attendance requirements.
After noting Khan's presence outside the Islamabad Court Complex, where he was scheduled to be charged in the Toshakhana case, the judge let Khan to return.
"Under the circumstances, the hearing and appearance cannot continue, thus after taking attendance, everyone present should go. The hearing cannot take place today; there is no need for shelling or pelting," the judge was reported as saying by the Dawn daily.
The court also said that after receiving Khan's signatures, a future date for his next appearance might be addressed.
The newspaper said that as PTI party members threw stones at the court complex, persons inside the courtroom were having difficulty as a result of the teargas' impact.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a senior PTI leader, told the media that Khan was leaving the courthouse after all legal requirements for his attendance had been satisfied. Khan left the situation without being charged.
Khan had already arrived on the court grounds, but he was unable to enter the courtroom because of the worsening law and order situation.
Khan's attorney Khawaja Haris said at the hearing that he had previously contested the case's maintainability and that it should be resolved before an indictment.
Before Khan's court appearance, there were earlier altercations between security personnel and Khan's supporters outside the courthouse.
Akbar Nasir Khan, the head of the Islamabad police, informed the media that Khan's supporters used force, hurled stones at the police, and even set a police picket on fire.
He stated, "Our force is handling the matter with patience," noting that Khan will soon be going to the court in about five minutes.
At the courthouse in Islamabad's G-11, where Khan appeared, strict security measures were in place.
Khan, who had escaped an attempted murder in November of last year, was protected by a significant police presence in the vicinity.
Khan travelled from Lahore to Islamabad to appear in court. He was driven by a caravan of his backers.
On the M-2 motorway, at least three of the cars in his convoy were also involved in an accident, although there were no reported injuries.
On Friday, Khan went before the Lahore High Court and said that he would be prepared to appear before Judge Iqbal on Saturday in the corruption case against him.
Khan has been accused of purchasing presents, including a pricey Graff timepiece, from the state storehouse known as Toshakhana at a reduced price and then reselling them for a profit.
The Toshakhana was established in 1974 and is a division under the administrative jurisdiction of the Cabinet Division that houses priceless presents that foreign dignitaries and leaders of other countries and nations have presented to monarchs, lawmakers, bureaucrats, and officials.
Hours after Khan departed for Islamabad, over 10,000 armed members of the Punjab police conducted a large operation at his Zaman Park mansion in Lahore, arresting hundreds of his party members and claiming to have found guns and petrol bombs.
Khan's Zaman Park home was the target of a "major operation" by the police, which included dismantling all camps and barricades that had been established there by party members to keep him from being arrested in the Toshakhana case.
61 party members were detained during the operation, while approximately 10 PTI members and three police officers also sustained injuries.
For two days earlier this week, Khan's Lahore home was a battleground for his "arrest operation" in the case involving his party members, police, and Rangers.
The Lahore High Court ordered the operation to stop earlier last week, but the PTI staff members were able to thwart the arrest attempt.
After the operation, Punjab's Inspector General of Police Dr. Usman Anwar informed a news conference that the police had previously paused the operation at Zaman Park due to an LHC order and a PSL match.
The court did not prevent us from taking action against individuals responsible for assaulting police, however. Around lunchtime today, we began an operation. We encountered resistance from the PTI employees, but we were able to maintain control and arrest 61 people, the official added.
Twenty firearms, including Kalashnikovs, as well as petrol bomb bottles, according to the IGP, had been found in Khan's home.
He said that a complaint will be filed against Khan for the construction of bunkers in the Zaman Park region.
He said that once police obtained search warrants, they broke into Khan's home.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified the former cricketer-turned-politician in October of last year because he withheld information about the sales. In order to punish him for selling the gifts he had acquired as the nation's prime minister under criminal law, the top electoral body subsequently filed a lawsuit with the district court.
Khan became the first prime minister in Pakistan to be removed from office by the National Assembly in April of last year after losing a motion of no confidence.