A Pakistan magistrate on Saturday issued arrest warrants for former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a case about threatening a female judge, giving air to speculation that he may be arrested.
Mr. Khan addressing a rally on August 20 had used controversial remarks against Additional District and Sessions Judge, Zeba Chaudhry, and a case was registered against him with the Margalla Police Station in the Pakistan capital while the Islamabad High Court launched contempt proceedings.
In pursuance of the case, a local magistrate issued the arrest warrant at the request of the police.
Initially, Mr. Khan was booked under terrorism laws but the charges were deleted on the directive of the Islamabad High Court and the case was transferred from an anti-terrorism court to a normal sessions court.
The bail granted to him by the anti-terrorism case also became ineffective after the case was transferred. The police said he failed to attend the last court hearing on the matter and the arrest warrant was issued to ensure his presence.
It was rumoured that the Islamabad police sent about 300 personnel to arrest Mr. Khan from his Banigala residence in the suburbs of Islamabad but the police denied the reports.
“There is no truth in this news and it is baseless,” the Islamabad police said soon after PTI supporters started to gather at Banigala in anticipation of any police action. Police asked the people not to “listen to propaganda”.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told Geo News that Mr. Khan was not being arrested and the arrest warrant was routine and bailable.
“It is [for] a bailable crime. There is no question of arrest,” the interior minister said.
Separately, Mr. Khan earlier today submitted an affidavit in the IHC in the contempt case for threatening the additional district and sessions judge, assuring the court that he would never do anything in the future that would hurt the dignity of any court and the judiciary, especially the lower judiciary.
The deposed premier further said that he is "willing to apologise" if the judge thinks that he crossed a "red line".