Pakistan’s Imran Khan urges legal fight, gets protection from arrest in several terrorism-related cases
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan took his legal battle to court in the capital, Islamabad
ISLAMABAD — Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan took his legal battle to a court in the capital Islamabad on Tuesday, which granted him immunity from arrest until early next month on several terrorism charges of inciting violence.
The development comes as authorities have cracked down on supporters of Khan, now Pakistan’s top opposition leader. Following Khan’s arrest earlier this month, thousands staged violent protests and attacked public property and military installations.
The violence subsided only days later after Khan was released on the orders of the country’s highest court. Ten people lost their lives in clashes with the police.
Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament last April, campaigned against the government of his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, saying his ouster was illegal and calling for early elections.
Since then, the 70-year-old former cricket star turned Islamist politician has been embroiled in more than 100 legal cases against him. He is accused of alleged graft during his tenure and eight counts of terrorism following violent protests by his supporters and the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
After an Islamabad court on Tuesday granted Khan immunity from arrest on terrorism charges until June 8, he and his wife traveled to the nearby city of Rawalpindi to appear before the National Audit Office to answer questions in a separate vaccination case.
The couple is accused of accepting property for the construction of a private university in exchange for favors to a real estate tycoon. Khan denies the allegation, saying he and his wife Bushra Bibi were not involved in any wrongdoing.