In a recent development, Imran Khan, the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), made a shocking claim that members of his party are being coerced into leaving at “gunpoint.” Speaking informally to journalists at an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad, Imran expressed his concern over the situation and emphasized that the departures were not voluntary. Despite several key PTI leaders resigning in recent days, Imran remained unfazed, asserting that parties do not simply fade away but rather undergo a process of natural attrition, similar to the erosion of the ruling coalition PDM and the depletion of their vote bank. However, Imran stressed that his primary worry lay with the party workers, particularly the women. These remarks were made ahead of his bail petition hearing in eight different cases at the ATC, where Judge Raja Jawad Abbas presided. Imran faces terrorism charges following the violence that occurred outside the Judicial Complex prior to his Toshakhana case hearing in April.
Imran Khan’s Security Concerns and Lawyer’s Defense
Imran’s Lawyer Cites Security Threats and Recording Permission
Imran’s lawyer, Salman Safdar, addressed the court during the proceedings, highlighting the security threats faced by his client. As a result, the Lahore ATC had granted Imran permission to have his statement recorded by the judicial investigation team (JIT) at his residence in Zaman Park. Safdar emphasized that it was not a matter of evading these cases but rather ensuring personal safety. He further asserted that they were fully prepared to answer every question and present their arguments in the next hearing if permitted by the court. Additionally, Safdar informed the court about several pending cases at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against Imran, where the allegations primarily revolved around personal choices.
Special Prosecutor’s Accusations and Imran’s Allegations
On the other hand, the special prosecutor argued that Imran had failed to appear before the court on April 6 and 18 and had refused to cooperate with the JIT’s investigation into four cases. Stressing the importance of joining the investigation in cases of interim bail, the prosecutor highlighted that it was necessary for the accused to actively participate. The judge, Judge Raja Jawad Abbas, observed that the high court had instructed investigators to visit the accused and facilitate their involvement in the investigation. However, the special prosecutor contended that these orders pertained to a different case, not the one currently before the court. Imran’s lawyer alleged that the investigators displayed disinterest in conducting a criminal investigation and insisted on Imran’s physical presence. Despite the lawyer’s assurance that Imran was ready to answer any questions, the special prosecutor maintained that the IHC had ordered Imran to join the investigation.
Imran Khan’s Safety Concerns and Court’s Displeasure
Imran’s Personal Security Threats and JIT’s Absence
Imran himself took the podium, recounting the two assassination attempts he had faced—one at the Wazirabad rally and another at the Judicial Complex. He referred to the interior minister’s admission on Monday, acknowledging the threat to his life. Chief PTI Imran expressed his constant vulnerability, stating that he put his life in danger every time he left his house. Expressing its displeasure, the court questioned the absence of the JIT from the proceedings and raised concerns about their perception of being above the law.
ATC’s Verdict and Future Course of Action
Subsequently, the ATC extended Imran’s bail until June 8 for eight different cases. The court also summoned the JIT officers and demanded an explanation regarding the method by which Imran