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LHC security increases as Imran Khan expected to appear in court

On Monday, security was increased at the Lahore High Court (LHC) because PTI chairman Imran Khan is scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on his bail application in a case involving protests outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Sheikh is scheduled to hear the petition at 2 p.m.

On February 15, an Islamabad anti-terrorism court denied Imran’s request for an extension in his interim bail in a case involving violent protests outside the ECP after disqualifying him in the Toshakhana case due to his non-appearance.

Since being wounded in an assassination attempt during a pitstop his caravan made in Wazirabad while marching on Islamabad, PTI chief has been recuperating in his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

Following that, PTI chief petitioned the LHC for interim protective bail.

During the previous hearing, Justice Sheikh threatened Imran with a contempt notice and ordered him to appear in person in court on February 20.

The court also directed Punjab Inspector General Dr. Usman Anwar to meet with PTI chief’s legal team and make security decisions.

Ahead of today’s hearing, a large contingent of police personnel was deployed at the main gate of the LHC. Imran’s legal team arrived at the court as well to inspect the security arrangements.

Imran’s request to enter the LHC through the Mosque Gate was denied.

Earlier today, the court denied PTI chairman’s request, made through Senator Shibli Faraz, to enter the LHC via the Mosque or Judges’ Gate.

The application stated that the petitioner was a former Pakistani prime minister who had recently been injured in an assassination attempt.

“The petitioner’s bullet injuries are still healing, and doctors have not allowed him to walk or put pressure on the broken tibia,” it said.

It added that there was a “huge amount of risk and threat” to Imran’s life as the perpetrators and masterminds of the previous attack were still at large and “giving threats time and again”.

“It is hereby prayed that the petitioner, as the former Prime Minister, is permitted to enter the court premises through its Mosque Gate/Judges Gate for medical reasons,” the petition said.

The terrorism case was filed against Imran in Islamabad in October 2022, after PTI workers protested outside ECP offices across the country after the ECP disqualified the former prime minister in the Toshakhana reference.

PTI leadership called for people to take to the streets shortly after the verdict was announced. Clashes between police and protesters were also reported in Islamabad, Peshawar, and Karachi.

The ATC granted Imran pre-arrest bail in the case in October last year and summoned him several times, but the ex-prime minister did not appear in court. His lawyer had requested a medical exemption from an in-person appearance.

Imran had previously petitioned the court for a virtual hearing, but his request was denied.

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