Former Pakistani Prime Minister Khan’s bail extended in corruption case


Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, had his bail extended once again on Monday in a corruption case after he called on his supporters to take to the streets if he were to be re-arrested.

Khan’s brief detention last month on charges of corruption resulted in several days of violent unrest, with thousands of his followers engaging in riots, arson, and clashes with the police.

He was released from custody when the Supreme Court ruled his arrest as illegal. However, he believes that the government still intends to detain him in order to undermine his political momentum before the upcoming elections scheduled for October.

“They believe that people will remain silent spectators when they imprison me,” said the 70-year-old in a live-streamed address on Sunday night. “Death is preferable to subjugation. Decide to stand up and reject fear. Peaceful protest is your right.”

On Monday, a special corruption court in Islamabad extended Khan’s bail, as well as that of his wife Bushra Bibi, until July 4. Additionally, he has been granted bail in 15 other cases across three different courts, according to Gohar Khan, a member of his legal team.

Since being ousted by a vote of no confidence in parliament last year, Khan has launched an unprecedented campaign against Pakistan’s influential military. His arrest on May 9 was seen by his supporters as a retaliation for his defiance.

Following his release, Khan’s political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has faced a severe crackdown, including widespread arrests.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government accuses Khan of inciting violence against the state and has vowed to try some protesters in military courts.

“These cases are undemocratic,” Khan told a judge in an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad, where he faced eight cases on Monday. “I have never encouraged my supporters to resort to violence. Peaceful protest is a democratic right.”

Suppression of Critics

Khan remains the most popular politician in Pakistan by a significant margin. However, due to repeated detentions, many prominent PTI leaders have defected, and numerous journalists sympathetic to the opposition leader have reportedly gone missing after being taken into custody.

Amnesty International expressed grave concern on Thursday about the crackdown on voices critical of the state and the military.

Khan maintains that the protest violence was a false-flag operation aimed at justifying the suppression of his party.

Nevertheless, he appears increasingly isolated in his residence in the eastern city of Lahore and rarely ventures out, except for his regular appearances in the numerous court cases that have plagued him since leaving office.

Analysts assert that legal challenges are frequently employed by those in power in Pakistan to silence dissenting voices.

Khan rose to power in 2018 on a wave of popular support, campaigning against corruption and with the backing of the influential military establishment.

His removal from office, according to analysts, was due to the loss of support from top generals.

In his campaign for re-election, Khan has shed light on the behind-the-scenes influence wielded by the military’s top brass—a historically sensitive topic in Pakistan.

His arrest occurred shortly after he made an allegation that a senior general was involved in a plot to assassinate him in November, during which he was shot in the leg.

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