ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s bail was renewed in more than a dozen cases on Thursday, a month after violence erupted, with thousands arrested and the resignations of many of his party leaders.
The 70-year-old former international cricket star, who faces more than 150 cases registered against him since his ouster in April last year, appeared before two courts in the capital, Islamabad.
Imran Khan has been released on bail until June 19 in eight cases registered against him under the law Anti-terrorism legislationOne of his lawyers, Sher Afzal Marwat, told AFP.
Another lawyer, Gohar Khan, said another court had extended bail in nine other cases.
His arrest and detention after a court appearance last month sparked nationwide protests – including a fire that burned down the home of a senior army commander.
Pakistan has been mired in economic and political crisis for more than a year, with little respite expected before elections that must be held by mid-October.
Khan appeared to be riding a grassroots wave toward that election, holding huge rallies across the country, sweeping a series of by-elections and slandering the authorities in addresses to the nation broadcast nightly on social media.
But the violence that followed his arrest – particularly the targeting of military installations – led to a sweeping crackdown that threatened his political survival and that of his party, Tehreek-e-Insaf.
The military has undue influence on me Pakistani politicshaving carried out no fewer than three successful coups that led to decades of martial law.
Late Wednesday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) — the military’s propaganda wing — vowed to tighten the “noose of the law” around those involved in the violence.
After a meeting of the army’s senior commanders, Bayan said that “the bad determination of the hostile forces will be dealt with with iron hands.”
Thousands have already been arrested, and some face trial in military courts – a process that has been condemned by local and international rights groups.
Khan denies incitement to violence and says the attacks on military targets were “black operations” to give the authorities a pretext to arrest him and outlaw his party.
“I want to tell my nation that I am ready to face imprisonment… I will never bow down to this unjust and tyrannical regime,” he said on Wednesday in his final speech, which was broadcast on YouTube.
“I also ask you not to obey, for the moment you submit to this unjust and tyrannical rule, the very existence of our nation will be endangered.”
The mass resignations have left Khan increasingly isolated at his home in the eastern city of Lahore, where he ventures out only to appear in court.
Late Wednesday, several senior politicians who have quit PTI in recent weeks announced the formation of a new party, the Pakistan Stabilization Party.
Khan’s final court appearance comes a day before the government will present the 2023-24 budget to the National Assembly.
The cash-strapped government is also due to present its 2022-23 economic survey later on Thursday, but details leaked to local media show it missed every major growth target for the year.
GDP growth was only 0.3 percent against a target of five percent, while industrial output, agriculture and exports all missed targets.
Official data last week revealed that Pakistan’s year-on-year inflation rate reached 37.97 percent in May, as the country was on the brink of economic collapse and crucial bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund stalled.


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