Pakistan Ex-PM Khan Granted Bail

On Friday, Pakistan's Supreme Court granted former PM Imran Khan two weeks' bail after finding that his arrest on corruption charges by paramilitary troops — which prompted protests and deadly clashes — was unlawful.

Pakistan Ex-PM Khan Granted Bail
Image credit: Reuters

Facts

  • On Friday, Pakistan's Supreme Court granted former PM Imran Khan two weeks' bail after finding that his arrest on corruption charges by paramilitary troops — which prompted protests and deadly clashes — was unlawful.1
  • A three-judge panel ruled that Tuesday's arrest was invalid as it was conducted inside a court complex while he underwent biometric tests. Video footage showed paramilitary forces seizing Khan and dragging him from inside court premises, and whisking him away in an armored vehicle. He told reporters he was hit in the head and bled.2
  • In addition to bail, the high court also ruled that authorities aren't permitted to arrest him before Monday on charges related to any other cases against the former cricket star, including any that stem from the clashes following his arrest that reportedly left at least nine dead and over 4K arrested.1
  • Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, however, has vowed to incarcerate Khan, who has faced a series of legal challenges since he was ousted by a no-confidence vote in April 2022.1
  • The release of Khan, who was friendly with the military while in power but has since accused it of colluding against him, is a significant win for his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI). However, five other party leaders were arrested Thursday on charges of "inciting arson and violent protests under a well thought-out plan for threatening peace."3
  • If convicted in his corruption case, Khan could be disqualified from public office for life. The legal battle comes as Pakistan deals with economic turmoil and mounting violence by Islamist militants, eroding confidence in the security forces.2

Sources: 1Al Jazeera, 2BBC News, and 3Guardian.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Vox. Khan has been mired in controversy and scandals for years, and the mounting evidence is too much to ignore. Khan has used his power to subvert democracy, including his attempt to dissolve parliament to escape the no-confidence vote that ousted him. Now, he's using his platform to bring Pakistan to the brink of civil war by urging his supporters to commit violence. Khan is a danger to Pakistan, and his corruption is finally being exposed.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Middle East Eye. While in office Imran Khan tried his best to support the military while also ridding the government of its corrupt ruling elites. Unfortunately, when he started to notice that the armed forces were embedded in the toxic system, Pakistani troops quickly turned against him in the form of Tuesday's arrest. This is a small win for Khan, his supporters, and democracy, but the opposition leader is still fighting an uphill battle against a dangerous ruling class.