Islamabad, Pakistan – An Islamabad anti-terrorism court has granted interim bail to Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister, in a case registered against him last week for his remarks against senior police officials and a female judge.
The judge, Raja Jawad Abbas, on Thursday granted Khan bail until September 1 against a bond of 100,000 Pakistani rupees ($460).
Later in the day, Extra Sessions Judge Tahir Abbas Supra also granted Khan provisional bail until September 7 on an unlawful assembly charge against a bond of 5,000 Pakistani rupees ($22.8).
A hearing on a contempt of court charge will take place on August 31.
The cricketing icon turned politician has faced increasing legal challenges over the past few days. Last week, several cases were filed against him, including one under anti-terrorism laws for “threatening” senior police officials and a female judge, as well as contempt of court and unlawful assembly.
Before Khan arrived in court on Thursday, his lawyer claimed the terrorism case against the PTI leader had been filed by police as an “act of revenge”.
Tight security was in place around the court complex where the hearing was taking place, with law enforcement officials deployed outside the courts.
On a rainy Thursday, Khan arrived in court just before noon, where he was surrounded by senior PTI and party leaders supporters.
In a crowded courtroom, Khan’s lawyer, Babar Awan, said the three people Khan was accused of threatening had not filed charges.
Awan, while repeating Khan’s statements at the rally, wondered how Khan’s comment “‘be a little ashamed’, which is often used colloquially, is seen as threatening”.
After a short hearing, the court granted interim bail, while notifying the prosecutor and PTI lawyers for their responses, and adjourned the proceedings.
After the hearing, Khan addressed reporters and criticized the state’s actions against him, saying efforts to sideline him have made the country a “joke”.
“Pakistan is ridiculed around the world. Shahbaz Gill is being tortured and when i say i am going to take legal action against the police officials who turned him over to the police despite being tortured just by saying this i am supported under ‘a counterterrorism case,’ he said. .
“The news has gone around the world and gives the impression that Pakistan is a banana republic where there is no rule of law.”
He added that “those doing this, and those behind it, they should be thinking about the country.”
“We are organizing the biggest rallies in the history of Pakistan. Just because of this fear, they want to run away and are technically trying to knock me out.
After his government was overturned in aprilKhan repeatedly held large rallies, where he sharply criticized his political opponents, state institutions, security forces and “neutrals”, a commonly used euphemism for Pakistan’s military establishment.
The case against Khan
The police report against Khan includes testimony from magistrate Ali Javed, who said he heard Khan criticize the Pakistani police inspector general and another judge at a rally in Islamabad on Saturday.
Under the Pakistani legal system, the police file what is known as a First Information Report (FIR) detailing the charges against a defendant with a magistrate, who gives the go-ahead for the investigation to proceed. continue. The police then arrest and question the accused.
The magistrate argued in his FIR that Khan’s speech had caused fear and uncertainty among police, judges and the nation.
“Terrorism has spread, the peace of the country has been undermined,” he said.
Lawyer Haider Rasul Mirza, a Lahore-based criminal law expert, told Al Jazeera that Khan’s appearance in court meant he was granted provisional bail.
“Imran Khan has given the court his version through his lawyers that he fears an imminent threat of arrest as he believes the case is based on acts of bad faith. [wrong] intention. So, after his release on bail, the court has now granted him protection for an interim period and will send a notice to the public prosecutor to present his case,” Mirza said.
He added that while Khan may be granted a waiver from the next hearing if his lawyers appeal on his behalf, it cannot be a “permanent waiver”.