Latest World News: SC bans authorities from arresting PTI chief in murder of lawyer

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday barred authorities from arresting PTI President Imran Khan until August 9 in a case relating to the murder of lawyer Abdul Razzaq Shar in Quetta.

A three-member bench headed by Judge Yahya Afridi and comprising Judge Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Judge Musarrat Hilali issued the guidelines while hearing Imrans’ plea to quash the case.

On June 6, Shar was shot by unidentified assailants near Alamo Chowk on Airport Road. According to the police, the attack happened while he was on his way to the Balochistan High Court (BHC), being targeted by unknown persons armed with automatic weapons.

The government and the PTI had swapped blame over the incident, with both sides accusing the other of playing a role in the murder. Prime Minister’s aide Attaullah Tarar had alleged that the lawyer had been killed at Imran’s request to escape responsibility in a treason case, while PTI spokesman Raoof Hassan had accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah of being behind the killing.

It should be recalled that Shar had filed a constitutional petition against the PTI leader in the High Court of Balochistan, seeking prosecution against the ex-Prime Minister under Article 6 of high treason.

Subsequently, a first information report (FIR) was filed on the complaint of Shars’ son, attorney Siraj Ahmed, at Quettas Shaheed Jamil Police Station against Imran.

An Anti-Terrorism Tribunal (ATC) had subsequently issued warrants for Imrans’ arrest in the case, which were later confirmed by the BHC. Imran had then applied to the Supreme Court to annul the FIR registered against him.

During the previous hearing on July 20, the formation had ordered the ex-prime minister to appear before it in person before requesting the cancellation of the FIR and the arrest warrants.

Hearing today

Imran appeared before the SC at today’s hearing alongside his lawyers. At the start of the hearing, the Advocate General of Balochistan urged the SC to instruct the petitioner to appear before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) charged with investigating the murder.

In response, Judge Afridi said the court would not issue such an order at this stage. Why do you want to involve the president of the PTI in the investigation? asked Judge Naqvi.

The Attorney General said the FIR justified the inclusion of PTI leaders in the investigation.

While rejecting the Balochistan government’s request, the court also rejected Imran’s request to adjourn the hearing to a later date. Judge Afridi noted that the investigation report in the case had been submitted and the court had to look at the facts.

The court ordered the head of the PTI to appear at the next hearing scheduled for August 9.