24 February 2024
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The Supreme Court’s (SC) Registrar Office refused to entertain on Monday a petition challenging ‘political victimisation’ and denial of ‘right to fair trial’ over rejected pre-arrest bail pleas of ousted prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan.

A constitutional petition was filed before the top court on Imran’s behalf seeking relief in cases wherein his pre-arrest bail pleas were rejected on technical grounds.

The petition invoked Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan, with prayer to protect the fundamental rights of the petitioner and set aside the trial court’s dismissals of pre-arrest bail pleas.

It further moved the court to restrain the relevant authorities from arresting the PTI chief in cases “where his pre-arrest bail applications were dismissed without due consideration of cases merits, thereby ensuring his rightful access to fair trial,” according to the notice issued by the SC registrar office.

‘Not entertainable’

The apex court’s registrar office returned the petition as ‘not entertainable’.

In its written notice, the registrar office observed that the aforementioned petition “has not pointed out as to what questions of public importance in the instant case are involved with reference to enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Constitution, so as to directly invoke jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution”.

Read Toshakhana ruling under scrutiny

It stated that the conditions for invoking Article 184(3) have not been satisfied in the prayer filed on behalf of the PTI chief.

It further mentioned that “misconceiving multifarious prayers have been made in one Constitution Petition” and that the petitioner has not approached any other appropriate forum available under the law for the same relief without justifying why he has not done so.

Article 184(3) of the Constitution stipulates that for the court to have original jurisdiction on a matter, the matter needs to be of public importance and it must involve a violation of fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

Imran was arrested for the second time in three months on August 5, 2023, after a district and sessions court sentenced him to three years in prison in the gifts repositary case.

The party has challenged the trial court’s ruling before the Islamabad High Court.

Shortly after the verdict, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified the PTI chief for five years and revoked his status as a returned candidate from NA-45 Kurram due to his conviction in the Toshakhana case.

Over 150 cases have been filed against the PTI chief since he was ousted from office in April 2022 through a vote of no-confidence.

Abdul Gh Lone