Pakistan’s Imran Khan asking courts to prevent re-arrest 2023

Ousted Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was scheduled to petition to various courts for bail on a growing number of accusations on Thursday to avoid incarceration, which might lead to violent rallies by his supporters.

The 70-year-old former cricket hero who became prime minister in 2018 has been in conflict with the strong military since he was ousted in a no-confidence vote last year. In a country where political disputes are generally resolved in court, the military has governed directly or over civilian administrations.

Khan’s May 9 arrest on corruption accusations, which he denies, spurred protests by his followers who trashed military sites, raising new concerns about the stability of the nuclear-armed country of 220 million people as it faces its worst economic crisis in decades. Khan was released days later, but fresh charges keep coming. He was charged with murdering a lawyer seeking sedition against him on Wednesday.

Khan denies all 150 charges. Khan’s lawyer, Gohar Khan, said the former prime minister will request bail in more than a dozen cases on Thursday before Islamabad’s anti-terrorism, anti-graft, and High Courts.

Khan, who has campaigned for an early election since his fall last year, seems resigned to being imprisoned again. “I’m ready to be arrested,” he told party workers online late Wednesday.

Khan, a conservative, nationalist leader, first appealed to the military, which avoids civilian politics. However, Khan’s security sector selections infuriated the generals.

He has “no doubt” he would be convicted in a military court and imprisoned as part of the army-backed onslaught on his party. On Wednesday, the military demanded punishment for all May 9 violence planners and perpetrators.

Shahbaz Sharif, Khan’s successor as prime minister, has rejected his proposal for an election before late this year. Khan claims his lawsuits are meant to keep him from running. Khan wants negotiations to end the military impasse. The government denied his requests.

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