Imran Khan appears in Lahore HC; gets protective bail for using ‘inappropriate language’ against Army officers

Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Imran Khan on Friday appeared before the Lahore High Court (LHC) and secured protective bail till April 26 in a case related to using “inappropriate language” against senior Army officers.

Islamabad police had booked Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief, on April 6 for making a speech in which he allegedly used “inappropriate language against the senior military (Inter-Services Intelligence) officers” and put the lives of their families at risk.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) provided 70-year-old Khan with a protective bail and directed him to approach the relevant court in Islamabad for a bail extension.

The former premier appeared before the LHC amid high security.

“LHC Justice Ali Baqir Najfi granted protective bail to Imran Khan on his request that he wants to join the investigation in a ‘frivolous’ case against him registered by the Islamabad police,” a court official told PTI.

“The judge granted him protective bail till April 26 and directed him to move to the relevant court in Islamabad for an extension to bail,” the official added.

Talking to reporters at the LHC premises, Khan said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led coalition federal government’s open defiance of the Supreme Court orders, especially about holding elections in Punjab, earned a bad name for the country.

“Through such acts, Pakistan’s image in the world is being portrayed as ‘Banana Republic’,” the former prime minister said.

The federal coalition does not want the elections to prolong its rule,” he said, adding that under the Constitution, elections cannot be delayed for more than 90 days after the dissolution of an assembly.

Khan also lambasted what he called the “fascist government” of all times installed by “handlers” (referring to the country’s powerful military establishment).

“So far, more than 3,000 workers of PTI have been picked up by this fascist government and their human rights are being trampled upon,” the cricketer-turned-politician said.

On Thursday, a Lahore Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) extended Khan’s pre-arrest bail till May 4 in three terrorism cases.

Intense clashes erupted outside the Islamabad judicial complex on March 18 when Khan arrived from Lahore to attend a much-awaited hearing in the Toshakhana corruption case.

During the confrontation between PTI workers and police, over 25 security personnel were injured, prompting the Lahore police to book Khan and hundreds of his party workers in three terrorism cases.

One of the cases in which Khan has been booked for attempted murder pertains to the killing of a PTI worker.

Khan has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.

The former premier is currently facing over 140 cases registered against him by the federal coalition led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and the PML-N nominated caretaker-government of Punjab under treason, terrorism, murder, attempted murder, blasphemy and other charges.