A Pakistani court on Thursday extended former prime minister Imran Khan’s pre-arrest bail for one week, his lawyers said, as the leader appeared at Islamabad’s federal judicial complex amid heavy security.
Mr Khan has been granted preemptive bail until 1 September after which the former prime minister will apply for another extension with the court, his lawyer and political ally Babar Awan said.
“We asked for a longer time because Imran Khan is contesting elections on many seats and he needs to go on campaign, but the court gave us just a week,” Mr Awan said.
Police officials in Pakistan filed a case against the Tehreek-e-Insaf party chief after he referred to police torture in a public rally of an aide Shahbaz Gill who is facing sedition charges for provoking mutiny in the country’s military. The police officials said that the former PM issued a threat in his speech.
The cricket star-turned-politician had said that he “would not spare” the police chief of Islamabad force and a female judge who sent his aide to police custody for torturing his chief of staff.
Mr Khan had also warned of legal action against the public servants in his speech, sparking outrage among the police officials.
The leader’s remark and the purpose of his speech were aimed at spreading terror among the force and Pakistan’s judiciary, police said, adding that Mr Khan wanted to prevent the officials from performing their duties.
The initial bail granted to Mr Khan was set to expire on Thursday – same day it was extended for one more week.
His lawyers argued in the pre-arrest bail plea that the case against Mr Khan was based on “surmises and conjectures” and there was no proof against the leader on record.
The Pakistan administration has turned the heat on Mr Khan as the leader seeks return to power in the country by calling for early elections and has been carrying out mass rallies.
Mr Khan was ousted from the prime minister’s office in April this year after he lost the no-confidence vote in Pakistan’s parliament.
Additionally, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said that he is aware of the terrorism charges against Mr Khan and pushed for a “competent, independent and impartial legal process” against the former leader.