Imran Khan Denied Bail in Pakistan Riots Case, Party Calls it a Ploy

Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, has been denied pre-arrest bail in three cases related to the riots that occurred on May 9, 2023. The decision was made by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore, Pakistan. Khan was accused of aiding and abetting attacks on government buildings and army facilities, including the Shadman police station, Askari Tower, and Jinnah House, the Lahore Corps Commander House. These attacks took place after Khan’s arrest in May 2023 on alleged corruption charges.

The prosecution argued that Khan’s presence is needed to complete the investigation and drew comparisons between the May 9 violence and the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former US president Donald Trump. The judge, Khalid Arshad, denied Khan’s bail petitions and announced a short order, reserving a detailed order for a later date.

Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), reacted strongly to the court’s decision, accusing it of being a ploy to keep Khan in jail for an extended period. PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan stated that the judiciary has surrendered to “oppressive, anti-democratic and anti-constitutional forces’ personal agenda” and that this decision is a major obstacle to justice in Pakistan.

Hasan further criticized the ruling, stating that the state of Pakistan is under a dictatorship and that the sole purpose of denying bail was to prolong Khan’s imprisonment. He claimed that despite a year of propaganda, no evidence has been presented against Khan in any court regarding the allegations made against him.

Khan, a 71-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, has been in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail since August 2023 and faces over 200 cases. The court’s decision to deny bail further intensifies the political turmoil in Pakistan and raises concerns about Khan’s continued detention.

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