Former Pakistan PM Khan gets court protection against arrest

AFP

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was granted protective bail by a court in the eastern city of Lahore on Monday, providing him respite from arrest for two weeks in a case that involves charges under the country's anti-terrorism laws.

Khan has had a number of cases registered against him since a parliamentary vote ousted him from power last year. The cases range from gathering illegal funds for his political party to inciting violence against state officials.

Khan appeared before the Lahore High Court late on Monday along with hundreds of supporters, witnesses said.

"In the interest of justice, we are inclined to grant him ad-interim anticipatory bail protective in nature until 03.03.2023 to enable him to approach the court of first instance," read a one-page order seen by Reuters.

The case pertained to alleged violence by his supporters during protests last year, which Khan is charged with inciting.

Before Monday, Khan's lawyers had pressed for immunity from appearing in person, citing health and security concerns. The court had rejected these requests.

Khan was injured in a shooting at one of his protest gatherings last year. Khan's supporters have threatened countrywide protests if he is arrested.

Khan has announced he will launch a campaign this week calling on his supporters to offer themselves up for arrest in a bid to "fill up the jail cells" in protest against the detention of his aides.

The government denies cracking down on Khan and his party, and says it is not interfering in various cases against him.

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