The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday, 22 August, granted protective bail to former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan till 25 August, in a terrorism case registered against him for threatening a female judge and senior police officials at a public rally.
He had been booked on Sunday, under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (punishment for acts of terrorism), regarding his comments at his Islamabad rally a day prior.
Earlier on Monday, Khan's lawyers Babar Awan and Faisal Chaudhry filed a petition seeking pre-arrest bail on his behalf in the IHC.
'Khan A Target Of The Ruling PDM'
The petition filed by Awan and Chaudhry stated that Khan was a “target of the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) for his fearless criticism, and extremely bold, and blunt stance against corruption, and corrupt politicians," according to The Dawn.
"And to achieve this malicious agenda, acting in a most unfortunate and clumsy manner, a false and frivolous complaint has been registered against him by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police at the behest of the incumbent government," said the petition.
The pre-arrest bail application maintained that Khan had no past criminal record.
Awan also claimed that Khan’s residence in Banigala had been “surrounded” and that “he cannot even approach the relevant court,” according to The Dawn.
He urged the court to grant Khan protective bail so that the relevant forum could be approached.
The petition also alleged that the government had decided to “cross all limits” to arrest Khan “under false accusations,” said The Dawn.
The government, in an illegal effort to settle a political score, has decided to “illegally and unlawfully victimise” the petitioner, it added, saying that the government had registered 17 FIRs against Khan.
What Did The FIR State?
The FIR registered at Islamabad’s Margalla police station said that at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) rally at the F-9 Park on 21 August, Khan had “terrorised and threatened top police officials and a respected female additional sessions judge” in his address.
The FIR argued that Khan's speech was meant to “terrorise” top police officials and the judiciary so they could not perform their functions and abstain from pursuing any action against any PTI-related individual if required to do so, according to Express Tribune.
Political Reactions On Khan's Arrest
Khan's arrest has, however, received mixed reactions across the political spectrum. Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and former president Asif Ali Zardari opposed Khan's arrest as he believes that the arrest will cause political damage to the ruling alliance, according to The News.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, called out the PTI chief on his "misogynistic" remarks.
Senior PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the nation was supporting Khan and “this bond cannot be broken.” He said that the country would ultimately suffer if any attempt was made “to break this wall of people.”
( With inputs from The Dawn, Express Tribune and The News. )
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