Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan was released on bail this Fridayafter a three-day detention for allegations of corruption that sparked violent protests across the country.
The former leader had been arrested when he went to a high court in the capital, Islamabad, but the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that his arrest had been illegal and that the entire process should be reviewed.
On Friday, the court granted him bail “for a period of two weeks” and ordered his release during that period, said Khawaja Harris, one of his lawyers.
The measure was finalized in the late afternoon and Khan left for Lahore380 km from the capital, reported his party.
Khan was released shortly after a shooting took place outside the courthouse while security arrangements were being made for his release.
The shooting, confirmed by the Islamabad Police, was allegedly directed at security guards in various areas near the court complex, with no one being injured.
In a video message, posted by the PTI and deleted soon after, Khan had expressed his displeasure at the delay in allowing his departure: “They have kept me inside the court for three hours and they have not released me. Sometimes they come with one excuse and other times with another.”
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has vowed to re-order the arrest of the former head of government, bogged down in a series of legal cases since he lost power in April 2022 over a parliamentary vote of no confidence.
The former cricket star, who remains very popular in the country, attributes the charges against him to an attempt by the current coalition government and the military to prevent his return to power in October’s general election.
The 70-year-old former head of government also stated that a high-ranking official was involved in a plot to assassinate him last November, which did not sit well with the military, a major political force in this South Asian country.
Khan’s arrest sparked two days of chaoswhen thousands of his supporters burned down buildings and blocked roads in various regions.
The government deployed the army and at least nine people died in the clashes, according to police and health sources.
Hundreds of police officers were injured and more than 3,500 people were arrestedmostly in Punjab and Khiber Pakhtunjua provinces, according to authorities.
With dozens of cases against him, Khan has a “long road” ahead of him, he told the news agency. AFP the analyst Imtiaz Gul.
“This is no more than temporary relief, probably as part of efforts to defuse an explosive situation,” he said.
According to this expert, the court cases filed against Khan “seem designed to keep him bogged down and incapacitate him for active politics.”
(With information from EFE and AFP)
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan appears in court amid violent protests over his arrest
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