Pak anti-terrorism court grants pre-arrest bail to Imran Khan

Khan assured the court that he would join the investigation


An anti-terrorism court here on Friday approved pre-arrest bail till June 2 to Imran Khan in three terrorism cases filed against Pakistan's former prime minister in the wake of violence that erupted after his arrest on May 9.

Khan, 70, appeared at the Lahore Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) amid tight security after he received permission for his vehicle to enter the court premises.

According to a court official, the ATC granted pre-arrest bail to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief till June 2 in three terrorism cases, including the high-profile Jinnah House attack, and directed him to join the police investigation.

Khan assured the court that he would join the investigation, the official said.

Earlier, Khan said everyone is condemning the attack on army installations and demanded a probe into it.

When asked why he had not yet issued a statement condemning the attack on the top military officer's house in Lahore, he replied: I have already done so...who is not condemning the attack on the Jinnah House Lahore? Tell me one person in Pakistan who is not doing it.

He said the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led coalition government wants to eliminate his PTI party from mainstream politics by pitting it against the Pakistan Army.

In a video-link address from his Zaman Park residence here on Wednesday, Khan said Pakistan is heading towards an imminent disaster and it may face disintegration.

The arrest of Khan on May 9 by the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers at the Islamabad High Court premises triggered unrest in Pakistan. For the first time in Pakistan's history, the protesters stormed the army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and also torched a corps commander's house in Lahore.

Police put the death toll in violent clashes to 10 while Khan's party claims 40 of its workers lost their lives in the firing by security personnel.

On Monday the top military brass vowed to bring the arsonists, who attacked the civil and military installations, to justice through trial under relevant laws of the country, including the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act.

Law enforcement agencies have arrested over 7,000 PTI workers across Pakistan, 4,000 of them from Punjab.

Meanwhile, Lahore police claim to have arrested 14 "terrorists" who were trying to flee from Khan's Zaman Park residence.

"Police have arrested 14 terrorists on Thursday and Friday who were wanted in attack on Jinnah House and Askari Tower," Punjab caretaker information minister Amir Mir said on Friday.

He said some 400 policemen may go into Khan's Zaman Park home to search for more terrorists.

On Wednesday the provincial government had given Khan 24 hours deadline to hand over 30 to 40 terrorists allegedly holed up at his house.

Police have surrounded his home and blocked all roads leading to it.

Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan. PTI MZ/MRJ AKJ   MRJ 05191428

📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines