| 1 December 2023, Friday |

Pakistan court orders Imran Khan’s release on bail, lawyer says

After his arrest sparked fatal protests and a dispute with the military, a Pakistani court approved the former prime minister Imran Khan’s release on bail for two weeks, according to his attorney on Friday.

The 220 million-person country is now more unstable due to the arrest, which the Supreme Court deemed “invalid and unlawful” the day before. This comes at a time when the economy is in trouble due to record inflation, sluggish growth, and delayed IMF money.

“They had no justification to arrest me. I was abducted. It seems as if there was a law of jungle,” Khan told British news outlet The Independent at the Islamabad High Court.

Nearly 2,000 people have been arrested for violence since Tuesday, when Khan was detained by the anti-graft agency in a land fraud case.

At least eight have been killed as his supporters clashed with police, attacked military establishments and set other state buildings and assets ablaze, prompting the government to call in the army to help restore order.

“The Islamabad High Court has given a two week bail and also ordered the (anti-graft body) not to arrest Imran Khan during this period,” his lawyer Faisal Chaudhry told reporters after the hearing.

Khan arrived amid tight security at the court on Friday as his supporters clashed with police elsewhere in the capital, where a police van was also set ablaze, broadcaster Geo TV reported

Khan, wearing dark glasses and dressed in a sky blue shalwar kameez – the loose shirt and trousers popular in Pakistan – and a dark waistcoat, walked into the court surrounded by lawyers and security forces, TV footage showed.

He was seen in footage waving at cameras and making a victory sign with his fingers as he walked into the court.

  • Reuters