In a relief for embattled Imran Khan, a Pakistani top court here on Friday granted protective bail to the former prime minister in eight terrorism and a civil case after he appeared in court, hours after another top court issued arrest warrants against him until March 18 in a corruption case.
Khan, the 70-year-old leader of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, traveled in a bulletproof vehicle to the Lahore High Court (LHC) to seek bail in nine cases.
A two-member bench from the LHC, consisting of Judge Tariq Saleem Sheikh and Judge Farooq Haider, presided over the hearing on bail applications filed against the cases filed under terrorism sections, according to Geo TV.
For the five Islamabad cases, the court granted bail to the PTI chief until March 24, and Khan was granted bail until March 27 for the three cases in Lahore, the report said.
Meanwhile, Judge Saleem also heard the bail applications Khan had filed against the civil case filed against him, it said.
Earlier, the Islamabad High Court suspended arrest warrants issued against Khan without bail until March 18, giving him a chance to appear before the district court hearing the Toshakhana case.
Prior to the LHC’s decision, a tense calm reigned in Lahore’s posh Zaman Park near Khan’s residence, where two days of battles took place between his insurgent supporters and the Punjab police.
The skirmishes finally subsided after the court intervened on Wednesday.
Khan is in his crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch that he had received as prime minister at a discounted price from the state custodian named Toshakhana, and sold it for a profit.
Established in 1974, the Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division that preserves precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.
Khan was disqualified by Pakistan’s Election Commission in October last year for failing to share details of the sale.
The electoral body later filed a complaint with the district court to penalize him for selling the gifts he had received as the country’s prime minister.
Khan has vehemently denied those allegations.
According to Khan, he faced more than 80 different cases in different courts across Pakistan.
Khan, the cricketer turned politician, was ousted from power last April after losing a vote of no confidence, which he says was part of a US-led conspiracy against him for his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia , China, and Afghanistan.
Since his ouster, Khan has called for early elections to remove what he called an “imported government” led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Sharif has maintained that elections will be held later this year once parliament has completed its five-year term.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)