Pakistan Supreme Court demands immediate presence of Imran Khan in court, directs NAB to produce him
New Delhi : In a recent development, the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued a directive on Thursday, ordering the anti-corruption watchdog to present former Prime Minister Imran Khan within one hour. The court observed that the agency had committed "contempt of court" by arresting Khan without permission from the court's registrar after entering the court premises.
The directive came from a three-member bench consisting of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, and Justice Athar Minallah. This bench was presiding over Khan's plea against his arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case, which was heard on Tuesday. During the hearing, the bench expressed its displeasure at the manner in which the 70-year-old Khan was apprehended at the Islamabad High Court, where he had arrived from Lahore for a separate case.
Consequently, the bench instructed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce Khan by 4:30 pm (local time) when the court session would resume.
At the beginning of the hearing, Chief Justice Bandial raised the question of how an individual could be arrested within the premises of the court. Justice Minallah acknowledged that Khan had indeed entered the court premises and further questioned, "How can anyone be denied the right to justice?"
Additionally, the court noted that the arrest of individuals within the court premises without the permission of the court registrar was impermissible. It further emphasized that such an arrest amounted to depriving individuals of their right to access justice without fear or intimidation, a fundamental right of every citizen. The court also highlighted that when an individual enters the premises of a court, it signifies their surrender to the authority of the court, making it perplexing as to why someone would be arrested after surrendering. Chief Justice Bandial remarked, "If an individual has surrendered to the court, then what purpose does their arrest serve?"
Following Khan's arrest at the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday, he was subsequently transferred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by an accountability court on Wednesday. The court granted the NAB custody of Khan for a duration of eight days in relation to the Al-Qadir Trust case.