Pakistan court extends bar on Imran Khan’s arrest till May 31

The ruling was made after the government’s lawyer requested more time to provide information about the cases filed against Imran Khan

May 17, 2023 03:45 pm | Updated 04:12 pm IST - Islamabad

Security officers escort Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan, as he appeared in Islamabad High Court.

Security officers escort Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan, as he appeared in Islamabad High Court. | Photo Credit: Reuters

A top Pakistani court in Islamabad on May 17 extended until May 31 its order to prevent the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in any case filed against him after May 9.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruling came after the government’s lawyer requested more time to provide information about the cases filed against the 70-year-old Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chief.

Also read |Pakistan’s military plans to keep me in jail for 10 years under sedition charges: Imran Khan

Mr. Khan was not present in the court. The court was hearing PTI’s plea seeking details of all the cases filed against Mr. Khan. His party said the PTI chief was booked in over 100 cases nationwide.

The Dawn newspaper reported that the court granted the government lawyer’s request and adjourned the hearing until May 31.

In a significant relief to Mr. Khan, the IHC on Friday granted him protective bail for two weeks in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case and barred the authorities from arresting the former Pakistan Prime Minister in any case registered anywhere in the country until May 15.

The court verdict had come a day after the Supreme Court termed Mr. Khan’s dramatic arrest from the IHC premises on May 9 “invalid and unlawful”.

A triumphant Mr. Khan returned to his Lahore home on May 13 after having locked himself in the IHC premises for hours for fear of re-arrest despite being granted bail on May 12.

The IHC on May 17 also ordered the release of PTI leaders Maleeka Bokhari and Ali Muhammad Khan, declaring their arrest “unlawful”.

The PTI leaders were arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 following the violent protests in the country after Mr. Khan’s arrest.

The arrest of Mr. Khan on May 9 by the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers at the IHC premises triggered unrest in Pakistan. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the protesters stormed the army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and torched a corps commander’s house in Lahore.

Police put the death toll in violent clashes to 10, while Mr. Khan’s party claims 40 of its workers lost their lives in the firing by security personnel.

On May 15, the top military brass vowed to bring the arsonists, who attacked the civil and military installations, to justice through trial under relevant laws of the country, including the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act.

Mr. Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

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