Pakistan: Anti-Terrorism court grants pre-arrest bail to Imran Khan

Anti-Terrorism court grants pre-arrest bail to Imran Khan 

Imran Khan was granted pre-arrest bail in three cases by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore on May 19. These cases were filed against him after his detention on May 9.

Imran Khan, the ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan and leader of the PTI party was given pre-arrest bail by a Lahore anti-terrorism court on May 19. This decision came after his arrest on May 9, following the filing of three cases against him. The court granted him bail until June 2 and emphasized the importance of his cooperation with the ongoing investigation.

Khan is being accused of a legal offence in connection with the attack on Corps Commander House in Lahore. 

Khan asserted that he would fight “till the last ball”.

The PTI party leader made an appearance in court on Friday, having received authorization for his vehicle to access the ATC premises.

The apprehension of Khan on May 9 within the premises of the IHC by the Pakistan Rangers, a paramilitary force, caused extensive unrest throughout Pakistan. This incident became a momentous occurrence as protesters, for the first time in the nation’s history, forcefully entered the army headquarters (GHQ) located in Rawalpindi and deliberately set ablaze the residence of a corps commander in Lahore.

As per the police, there were 10 casualties during the intense clashes, while Khan’s political party claims that 40 of its followers lost their lives as a result of gunfire by the security forces.

The declining authority of Imran Khan in Pakistan

In April of the previous year, Imran Khan, who held the role of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, was ousted from his position after a no-confidence vote was initiated against his leadership. He alleged that the United States had orchestrated this vote as a part of a plot to target him, citing his autonomous foreign policy choices concerning Russia, China, and Afghanistan.

Imran Khan was recently arrested by the anti-corruption agency and put under custody for eight days, beginning on May 10. Furthermore, a sessions court officially accused him in a distinct corruption lawsuit. These incidents sparked violent demonstrations, causing the death of at least seven individuals and prompting the army to be deployed in the affected regions and three provinces.

Protest by Khan’s supporters

image source: financial times

The Pakistan Army advised Khan’s supporters against taking part in vigilantism and emphasized that it showed composure, restraint, and remarkable tolerance, disregarding its own reputation, for the greater good of the country.

The Army released a brief statement declaring May 9 as a significant and unfortunate event, referring to it as a ‘Black Chapter’ because of the protests that targeted army facilities and properties. They described the people involved as a political faction and expressed that their actions went beyond what the army’s opponents had accomplished in the previous 75 years, motivated solely by their quest for power.

A warning was given that any further attack on the military, including law enforcement agencies, as well as military and governmental facilities, would be met with strong retaliation.

Meanwhile, clashes between protesters and security forces in the past day have led to at least seven deaths and nearly 300 people injured across Pakistan. The army has been deployed to the capital, Islamabad, and the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan to maintain law and order.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Sharif issued a warning to those who take justice into their own hands, emphasizing the importance of obeying the law. He cautioned that failure to do so would result in severe consequences being imposed upon them.

Imran Khan’s arrest

The leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, who serves as the chairman and is 70 years old, was apprehended by the paramilitary Rangers on Tuesday. The arrest was carried out in a room at the Islamabad High Court, following orders from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The next day, Khan was brought before Judge Muhammad Bashir in Anti-Accountability Court No. 1.

On Monday, the military leaders made a pledge to ensure that those responsible for setting fire to civilian and military facilities would face legal consequences. They expressed their commitment to conducting trials in accordance with the relevant laws of the nation, such as the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.

During the hearing, the legal representatives of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) requested the court to grant 14-day custody of Khan in order to conduct additional investigations regarding the allegations raised against him in the Al-Qadir Trust case. Khan is being accused of misappropriating Rs 50 billion from the national funds. However, Khan’s lawyer objected to the plea and appealed to the judge to release him, stating that the accusations against him were unfounded and without merit.

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