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Court orders Imran Khan to appear before investigation officer in prohibited funding case

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  • Banking court judge reserves verdict on Khan’s plea for extension in pre-arrest bail.
  • Turns down Khan’s request to be interrogated at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.
  • Says investigation officer can hold interrogation wherever and however he wants.

A banking court in Islamabad on Thursday directed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to ensure his presence before the investigation officer (IO) in the prohibited funding case being pursued against his party.

In the bail plea, the PTI chief’s lawyers had urged the court to stop the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from arresting Khan in the case pertaining to financial irregularities in the party’s funding.

Today, the directive was issued as the court announced a reserved verdict on Khan’s plea for an extension in pre-arrest bail.

At the outset of the hearing, Special Prosecutor Rizwan Abbasi requested the court to reject the former premier’s plea, while the petitioner’s lawyer asked the court to give a two-week extension on medical grounds.

Khan’s lawyer also requested an exemption for the PTI chief to appear before the court for today’s hearing.

The prosecutor maintained that Khan has been politically active since the assassination bid on his life during PTI’s long march rally in Wazirabad in November.

“He is running the political affairs but doesn’t appear in the court,” Abbasi said while requesting the court to reject his plea for exemption.

He claimed that Khan neither appeared in the court nor joined the probe, asking the court to tell the investigation officer to visit the PTI chief at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore. 

When asked about the reason for Khan’s absence from investigations, his lawyer said that there were many reasons he couldn’t appear before the investigation officer despite “his willingness”.

He said that Khan was injured in an assassination bid and he would appear before IO as soon as the doctors allow him.

At this, prosecutor Abbasi maintained that the investigation officer could not go to Lahore for interrogation.

“Imran Khan appears on TV but not in the courts,” Rizwan said while requesting the court to take back the decision of Khan’s interim bail. 

Judge Rakhshanda Shaheen turned down the request by Khan’s lawyer to interrogate the former premier at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

“The investigation officer can hold investigations wherever and however he wants, the court will not interfere,” the judge remarked.

Meanwhile, the judge asked Khan’s lawyer to assist the court with why shouldn’t it withdraw the interim bail.

She directed Khan to join the probe to ensure his presence before the IO under any circumstances and adjourned the hearing till January 31.

FIA kickstarts investigation in prohibited funding case

FIA kickstarted its countrywide investigation into the utilisation of funds from “prohibited” sources by PTI after an Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ruling that the party secured illegal donations, in August 2022.

On August 2, 2022, the ECP in a unanimous verdict said it had found that the PTI received prohibited funding.

The commission found that donations were taken from America, Australia, Canada and the UAE.

The case — earlier referred to as a “foreign funding” case — was filed in November 2014 when the party’s founding member Akbar S Babar alleged gross financial irregularities in the party’s funding from both Pakistan and abroad. 

Elections

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s JUI-F resignation from the Senate

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Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the JUI-F leader’s resignation, which he accepted.

In the National Assembly, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri will be sworn in as a member.

Following their victories in the general elections on February 8 for the Balochistan Assembly, Senators Sarfraz Bugti and Prince Umar Ahmedzai had already announced their resignations from the Senate.

Prior carer Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the resignation of Federal Interior Minister Bugti, which he accepted.

In a similar vein, Senator Prince Umar Ahmedzai of the Balochistan Awami Party resigned from the Senate following his election to the provincial legislature.

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Elections

NA session: The interim government addresses President Alvi’s concerns

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Details indicate that in response, the federal government informed Dr. Arif Alvi that Article 91 of the 1973 Constitution does not grant the president the “discretion or power” to adjourn the National Assembly session.

The sources quoted the federal administration and said, “Nowhere in Article 91 is it written that if the House is incomplete, the National Assembly session cannot be convened.”

It further said that Article 54 of the constitution allowed the president to adjourn the National Assembly’s “ordinary” session alone. According to the summary, the president was requested to call an extraordinary session of the National Assembly so that the newly elected members may take an oath of office.

Dr. Arif Alvi was asked to reconsider his choice and call a meeting of the National Assembly by the acting federal government on February 29.

The sources quoted the federal government and stated, “It is not written anywhere in the constitution that if specific seats are not allotted, the session cannot be called.”

It further said that the National Assembly must be called within 21 days following the election in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution.

The caretaker administration responded, saying, “Even if the President does not call the National Assembly session by February 29, it would still be held on the same day.”

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called a session of the National Assembly on Thursday, February 29th, in order to administer the oath to the newly elected Members of Congress earlier on Monday.

According to specifics, President Arif Alvi declined to call a meeting under clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution, arguing that the lower body is still unfinished because a decision on certain reserved seats has not yet been made. Consequently, the Speaker National Assembly called the meeting.

The National Assembly’s maiden session was called by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The freshly elected members of the National Assembly would take the oath of office from the Speaker. During the first session, the election schedules for speaker and deputy speaker will also be released.

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Pakistan

Maryam Nawaz honours ASP Shehr Bano For His Extraordinary Courage

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Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N’s nominee for chief minister of Punjab, honours young police officer Shehr Bano for displaying extraordinary bravery, insight, and courage.

According to Maryam Nawaz, if the female police officer hadn’t arrived in time, a catastrophe may have happened.

The country is proud of you, she said as she praised Shehr Bano.

According to Maryam Nawaz, Shehr Bano maintained humanity and the law in the face of pressure, numbers, and circumstances.

She stated that it is required of every police officer to contribute to the defence of individuals’ lives and property.

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