The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered the release on bail of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday, suspending his jail sentence. Khan had been found guilty earlier this month of concealing and selling gifts he had received on behalf of the state while in office. The IHC overturned a lower court’s decision to imprison Khan for three years and ordered his immediate release.
Although Khan has been granted bail, he still faces numerous other charges, raising the possibility of his rearrest once he is released from the maximum-security prison in Attock, where he is currently held. Khan’s spokesperson, Raoof Hasan, has vehemently denied the charges against him, describing them as a “fake case without any substance.” Hasan expressed concerns that Khan could be rearrested in any of the 180-plus frivolous or fraudulent cases lodged against him. Furthermore, Hasan mentioned that Khan was denied bail in nine cases solely because he was unable to appear before the court while imprisoned.
To safeguard against the potential for rearrest, Khan’s legal team has submitted a petition for a “blanket bail,” ensuring that he will not be arrested in any other cases following the suspension of his current sentence. A hearing on the matter is expected to take place on Wednesday.
While Khan’s supporters welcome the court’s decision and prepare for his release, his opponents caution against premature celebrations. It is important to note that only Khan’s sentence has been suspended, not his conviction. Consequently, he remains barred from electoral politics for another five years and will be unable to contest upcoming elections.
Khan, now 70 years old, has consistently denied any wrongdoing, maintaining that the charges against him are politically motivated. An article published by The Intercept earlier this month suggested that the US State Department had pressured Pakistan to remove Khan from power due to his “aggressively neutral position” on the Ukraine issue.
The release of the former prime minister has generated significant interest both nationally and internationally. As the legal proceedings unfold, many will be closely monitoring the developments in Khan’s case, particularly the upcoming hearing on the blanket bail petition. The suspension of Khan’s sentence raises questions about the potential impact on Pakistan’s political landscape, as well as the broader implications for accountability and corruption in the country.
Overall, while Khan’s release on bail offers him temporary respite from imprisonment, he still faces a long road ahead in clearing his name and addressing the multiple charges against him. The coming weeks and months will undoubtedly bring further twists and turns in this ongoing legal saga.