Freed on bail, Imran Khan blasts Pakistan’s ‘law of the jungle’

Update Freed on bail, Imran Khan blasts Pakistan’s ‘law of the jungle’
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party said thousands of ‘peaceful Pakistanis’ will gather in Islamabad in solidarity with their leader. (AFP)
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Updated 13 May 2023
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Freed on bail, Imran Khan blasts Pakistan’s ‘law of the jungle’

Freed on bail, Imran Khan blasts Pakistan’s ‘law of the jungle’
  • Islamabad court releases ousted former prime minister and bans authorities from arresting him again

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s bitter constitutional conflict took a new twist on Friday when ousted former Prime Minister Imran Khan was released on bail by the same court where he was controversially arrested on Tuesday.

Imran’s original detention unleashed days of violent demonstrations in which at least six people were killed.

His supporters set fire to a state broadcaster building, smashed buses, ransacked a top army official’s house and attacked other assets, leading to nearly 3,000 arrests and the army being deployed to restore order. He was arrested on Tuesday by paramilitary Rangers soldiers on the orders of the anti-corruption National Accountability Bureau in connection with a case involving a bribe of land. On Thursday the Supreme Court ruled his arrest illegal.

And on Friday the case came full circle when the Islamabad High Court granted Imran two-week protective bail and barred authorities from arresting him until May 17 in any case filed against him after May 9.

“They had no reason to arrest me, they abducted me,” Imran said on Friday. “And the army abducts me. Where were the police? Where was the law? This is the law of the jungle, rather it seems that martial law has been declared.”

Imran’s political opponents remained defiant. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s office “condemned in strong terms the extraordinary intervention” of the chief justice in the case.

Sharif also criticized the judiciary for being “lenient” with his rival. “The judiciary is standing like an iron wall to protect Imran,” he said.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Imran was still a target for detention. “If bail is granted in some cases and not in other cases, then we would definitely arrest him in cases in which he has not obtained bail,” he said.