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Pakistani court docket bars police from arresting ex-premier Khan

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ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani court docket on Thursday prolonged former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s safety from arrest by way of the top of the month, officers stated, after police filed terrorism prices in opposition to the nation’s fashionable opposition chief.

The choice successfully shields Khan from arrest till Sept. 1 over accusations that in a speech final weekend, he threatened cops and a feminine choose — remarks that triggered the terrorism prices.

The choice additionally quickly alleviates issues of violent clashes between police and supporters of the previous premier. Khan has been main mass rallies and in search of early elections since he was ousted in April in a no-confidence vote in Parliament. The federal government says elections will probably be held as scheduled subsequent yr.

Outdoors the anti-terrorism court docket on Thursday, Khan informed reporters that he had by no means threatened anybody. He additionally stated the terrorism prices in opposition to him had been politically motivated and that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s authorities fears Khan’s rising reputation.

“You make enjoyable of Pakistan,” Khan stated of Sharif’s authorities.

Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan stated the terrorism prices filed in opposition to Khan had been “an act of revenge.”

Arriving at court docket, Khan’s car was stopped on the gates and he was requested to stroll into the compound, as extraordinary suspects do, relatively than drive as much as the constructing as VIPs do.

Lots of of Khan’s supporters gathered exterior the court docket constructing, chanting slogans in opposition to Sharif’s authorities and claiming that Khan is being politically victimized, a cost the federal government denies.

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Sharif changed Khan after the April no-confidence vote. Authorized specialists say Khan might face from a number of months to 14 years in jail, the equal of a life sentence if he’s discovered responsible. It’s unclear when the trial on terrorism prices will begin.

Khan faces two different circumstances in opposition to him.

Afterward Thursday, he appeared briefly earlier than one other court docket the place a felony case was registered in opposition to him this week on prices of defying a ban on staging rallies within the capital, Islamabad. He is protected against arrest in that case as effectively, till Sept. 7.

Khan can also be to look earlier than the Islamabad Excessive Court docket on Aug. 31 to face contempt proceedings on prices of threatening a choose — the third case in opposition to him. Beneath Pakistani regulation, if convicted on that cost, he will probably be disqualified from politics for all times. No convicted individual can run for workplace.

It’s the second time that Khan — a former cricket star turned Islamist politician — faces contempt prices. After elections in 1993, he was summoned however pardoned by the Supreme Court docket after describing the conduct of the judiciary as “shameful” and saying it didn’t guarantee free and honest elections.

Authorized specialists say Khan has restricted choices and will keep away from a conviction if he apologizes for his remarks in opposition to Decide Zeba Chaudhry. Throughout the rally he addressed the choose, saying, “prepare for it, we may also take motion in opposition to you.”

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Khan’s anger at Chaudhry was apparently brought on by her choice to permit police to interrogate Shahbaz Gill, an in depth Khan aide and the chief of workers for his political get together, Tehreek-e-Insaf. Gill, arrested earlier this month for allegedly making an attempt to incite troopers to revolt in opposition to high army management, stays in detention, pending trial.

Since his ouster, Khan has alleged — with out offering proof — that Pakistan’s highly effective army took half in a U.S. plot to oust him. Washington, the Pakistani army and the federal government of Khan’s successor, Shahbaz Sharif, have all denied the allegation.

Khan got here to energy promising to interrupt the sample of household rule in Pakistan. His opponents contend he was elected with assist from the highly effective army, which has dominated the nation for half of its 75-year historical past. Khan has vowed to oust Sharif’s authorities by way of “strain from the folks.”

In different developments, Saudi Arabia pledged Thursday to speculate $1 billion in Pakistan throughout a phone between the international ministers of the 2 nations, the state-run Saudi Press Company reported.

The transient report provided no particulars on whether or not the cash can be direct support for initiatives or a deposit in Pakistan’s reserves to assist the nation climate the financial disaster it now faces. It additionally comes a day after the Qatari Funding Authority stated it’s ready to speculate $3 billion in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is a serious benefactor for Pakistan and plenty of Pakistanis work within the kingdom.

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Related Press author Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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