Islamabad, Pakistan – Imran Khan’s bail in a terrorism case has been extended until September 12.
The chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was charged under the country’s anti-terrorism laws for remarks made in a speech on August 20 against senior police officials and a member of the judiciary.
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At the first hearing on August 25, Khan was granted bail until September 1 by Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan. The judge directed Khan to appear in person on Thursday.
Court proceedings will resume on September 12 and arguments will be presented by both sides.
A senior PTI official, Asad Umar, criticised the government on Thursday for filing criminal cases against the former prime minister.
“They have realised it is impossible to face him politically. So now they are trying to put false charges against him,” Umar said.
Following the toppling of his government in April, Khan held several large rallies during which he criticised his political opponents, state institutions, security forces and so-called “neutrals” – a term often used to describe Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.
But the cricket star-turned-politician faced mounting legal challenges after his August 20 speech, for criticising the police and the judge.
The same speech also resulted in Khan being charged with contempt of court and unlawful assembly. Khan has denied he threatened the officials, saying his words were taken out of context.
On Wednesday, he was given another chance by the Islamabad High Court to provide a “supplementary” response regarding the contempt of court case.
A ban on live TV broadcasts of Khan’s speeches was also suspended on Monday as the court ruled the state’s media regulator “exceeded its authority”.
The charges against Khan came after he spoke about police “torture” of an aide who faces sedition charges for inciting mutiny in the military. Police have denied the accusations.
Political tensions in Pakistan remain high as Khan rallies support for elections that are not due until October next year.