International

Pak court grants pre-arrest bail to Imran Khan till June 25 in ‘Azadi March’ cases

A Pakistani court granted a three-week pre-arrest bail to former PM Imran Khan in 14 cases registered against him in connection with the arson and vandalism by his supporters during the Azadi march.

A Pakistani court on Thursday granted a three-week pre-arrest bail to ousted prime minister Imran Khan in 14 cases registered against him in connection with the arson and vandalism by his supporters during the recent Azadi march organised by his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, according to media reports.

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) granted Khan the bail to the 69-year-old former prime minister against a surety of Rs 50,000, the Geo News reported.

Khan reached out to the court for protection against his possible arrest in case he marches to Islamabad again. PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rasheed accepted the plea. Khan attended the hearing in-person.

In the petition, Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan said there were 14 FIRs registered against his client that accused him of inciting violence, the Express Tribune reported.

On May 27, Islamabad police filed separate cases against 150 people, including PTI Chairman Khan and party leaders Asad Umar, Asad Qaiser among others over allegations of arson and vandalism in Islamabad during the long march on May 25.

The judge granted the PTI leader bail till June 25 and subsequently forwarded the orders to the additional sessions judge of Islamabad. Khan has been instructed to appear before the Islamabad sessions court before June 25, the Dawn News reported.

Khan was removed from office in April through a no-confidence vote but he refused to accept the outcome and blamed that the US was involved in toppling his government.

The PTI chairman has been protesting ever since and calling fresh elections because, in his words, the incumbent coalition government led by Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party was “imported” and not a true representative of the Pakistani people.

Khan led his thousands of PTI supporters to Islamabad last Wednesday in a protest and had planned to stage a sit-in until new elections were announced but abruptly called off the sit-in at the last minute after making it to the capital. However, he had threatened to return after six days if the government failed to give a date for snap polls in the country.