By Biodun Busari
A Pakistani court has granted former Prime Minister Imran Khan a weeklong bail in two new cases in which he faces terrorism charges.
The officials said the judgment was given to the embattled ousted premier and now popular opposition leader as a short-term pardon from arrest.
According to ABC News, the 70-year-old Islamist politician has been enmeshed in a succession of legal cases including terrorism and graft since his removal from office in a no-confidence vote in Parliament last April.
Khan’s deadlock with the government of his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, has turned increasingly violent in recent days.
In the latest terrorism cases, Khan is accused of provoking people to violence when he travelled to Islamabad last Saturday to face the charge in a graft case.
Reports emerged that his supporters clashed with police outside the court and Khan never appeared before the judge.
The corruption case was later postponed till later in March. A separate terrorism case against Khan pertains to a rally last year when he verbally threatened a female judge.
Khan has denied all charges against him, saying he was being abused by Sharif’s government. After Tuesday’s ruling by a court in Lahore, the capital of eastern Punjab province, a close Khan associate repeated those claims.
Fawad Chaudhry, a senior leader in Khan’s opposition Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf party, said the terrorism charges were “politically motivated.”
Since the latest violence on Saturday, police have arrested hundreds of Khan’s supporters for attacking police in Islamabad and also in Lahore, where his followers clashed for two days with officers earlier last week when police first attempted to arrest Khan.
Also, after he was wounded last November in a shooting attack while leading a rally when a gunman sprayed his vehicle and entourage with bullets, Khan has also insisted there are plots to assassinate him.
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