The Islamabad High Court has released former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on bail. His arrest on corruption charges this week led to deadly fighting before it was ruled that his arrest was illegal. Khan, who is 70 years old, left the courthouse late Friday and was on his way to Lahore, where he grew up, according to his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Khan was happy with the court’s decision and said that the only way to stop the “law of the jungle” in Pakistan was through the courts.
“I expected this from our judicial system because it’s the only thing that stands between a banana republic and a democracy,” he told reporters. “There is no rule of law here if that doesn’t happen. It is the law of the jungle in every way.”
Khan blamed the situation in the country on General Syed Asim Munir, the head of the army, when he talked to the media before he was released on bail.
Khan said, “It’s not the security organization; it’s just the army chief.” “The army is not democratic. The army is getting a bad name because of what is going on in the country right now.”
— PTI (@PTIofficial) May 12, 2023
“That one man is afraid that if I become president, I will take away his jobs, but I won’t do that,” the leader of the opposition said.
Khan was given bail for two weeks, and the high court said he couldn’t be caught before Monday for any other case against him, including charges related to the violent riots that started this week because he was arrested. Khan has been accused of a lot of things in court since he was kicked out of power by a vote of no confidence in parliament in April of last year.
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— PTI (@PTIofficial) May 13, 2023
He then started a bold campaign against the military. General elections must be held by October, and the former cricket star says that the weak alliance government is working with top generals to get rid of him. He has also made shocking claims that they planned an attempt on his life in November when he was shot in the leg while campaigning for snap elections.
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Labyrinthine Legal Cases
This week, Khan was arrested on the orders of Pakistan’s top anti-corruption agency. This led to two days of chaos, during which tens of thousands of Khan’s followers burned buildings and blocked roads in protest across the country. Police and doctors say that at least nine people died during the chaos.
Authorities say that hundreds of police officers were hurt and that more than 4,000 people were arrested, most of them in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
The government said that letting Khan go would praise and encourage violence by the crowd. Khan was picked up in a case called “Al-Qadir Trust.” It has to do with land that Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, bought from real estate mogul Malik Riaz for their Al-Qadir University Trust.
The National Accountability Bureau, which is in charge of fighting corruption, says that Khan’s government made a deal with Riaz in which it helped Riaz move more than $239 million at the expense of the national exchequer. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said on Thursday that Khan’s arrest in the case was wrong because it happened in court, where Khan was going to ask for bail. He told Khan, “Your arrest was wrong, so the whole thing needs to start over.”
Khan spent the night in the care of the bench, where he was kept safe by the police, until he got to the Islamabad High Court, where hundreds of security forces were stationed and nearby roads were shut down.