Pakistan: Islamabad High Court issues 'protective bail' for Imran Khan

Pakistan: Islamabad High Court issues 'protective bail' for Imran Khan By A Robin - August 24, 2022
Imran Khan

Imran Khan

Hundreds of Tehreek-e-Insaf members stand at Khan’s home in show of support

The Islamabad High Court on Monday granted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan a 'protective bail' until Thursday, August 25, in a terrorism case registered against him for threatening a female judge and police officers at a public rally.

Earlier, Pakistani police have filed terrorism charges against the former prime minister, authorities said, escalating political tensions in the country as the ousted premier holds mass rallies seeking to return to office.

The charges followed a speech Khan gave in Islamabad on Saturday in which he vowed to sue police officers and a female judge and alleged that a close aide had been tortured after his arrest.

Khan himself has not publicly spoken about the latest charges against him. The protective bail will prevent police from arresting him over the charges, said Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a senior leader in his PTI party.

Hundreds of PTI members stood outside Khan’s home on Monday in a show of support as the former premier held meetings inside. The party has warned that it will hold nationwide rallies if Khan is arrested while working to try to squash the charges in court.

Under Pakistan’s legal system, police file what is known as a first information report about charges against an accused person to a magistrate judge, who allows the investigation to move forward. Typically, police then arrest and question the accused.

The report against Khan includes testimony from Magistrate Judge Ali Javed, who described being at the Islamabad rally on Saturday and hearing Khan criticize the inspector-general of Pakistan’s police and another judge. Khan went on to reportedly say: “You also get ready for it, we will also take action against you. All of you must be ashamed.’’

Khan could face several years in prison from the new charges, which accuse him of threatening police officers and the judge under the country’s sedition act, which stems from British colonial-era law. However, he’s not been detained on other lesser charges levied against him in his recent campaigning against the government.

By A Robin - August 24, 2022

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