Pakistani court dismisses pre-arrest bail petitions of former PM Imran Khan in May 9 riot cases

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Lahore, Jul 10 (PTI) A Pakistani anti-terrorism court (ATC) has dismissed pre-arrest bail petitions of former prime minister Imran Khan in three cases of May 9 riots which erupted following his arrest in a graft case.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder-chairman was booked on the charges of abetment in attacks on Lahore Corps Commander House known as Jinnah House, Askari Tower, and Shadman police station on May 9, 2023.

Supporters of Khan attacked several important government buildings and army installations following his arrest in an alleged corruption case in May last year.

ATC Lahore Judge Khalid Arshad refused pre-arrest bail to Khan and dismissed his petitions in the three cases, after the prosecution equated the May 9 violence to the United States Capitol Hill attacks by supporters of former US president Donald Trump in 2021.

The prosecution said the police required custody of the former premier to complete the investigation in the three cases.

The 71-year-old cricketer-turned-politician is facing over 200 cases and has been in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail since August last year.

Judge Arshad announced the short order at 7 pm, which he reserved on July 6 after hearing the final arguments of the prosecution and the petitioner’s counsel, the Dawn newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Due to the absence of Khan's legal team, the judge decided that the court would announce a short order. The judge said the detailed verdict will be released on Wednesday.

The attendance of the incarcerated PTI’s founding chairman could not be marked via video link due to “poor internet service” in Adiala jail, Rawalpindi, the report said.

Rejecting allegations of conspiracy and abetment, Barrister Salman Safdar had argued that there was no witness to prove that Khan incited violence and questioned how he could have conspired given his custody on May 9 and release on May 11.

He mentioned that Khan condemned the protests and urged his supporters to refrain from violence after his release.

Special Prosecutor Rana Abdul Jabbar stated that a video of Khan was released on social media before he left for the Islamabad court, in which he claimed to be fighting for ‘haqeeqi azadi’ (real freedom), the Dawn newspaper reported.

The prosecutor argued that in crowd crimes, every individual in the crowd is treated as an accomplice, including those guiding remotely via modern communication tools. PTI GSP/MZ AKJ GSP

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