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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party calls off Islamabad rally on April 6 to demand Imran Khan’s release

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Islamabad, April 4: Citing religious reasons, jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s party has announced cancelling its much-hyped rally that was scheduled to be held here on Saturday to demand the release of the party founder, who has been incarcerated since August last year after his conviction in various cases.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan took to X on Wednesday to inform his party’s supporters that the decision has been taken because of the Laylat-ul-Qadr — the blessed night that Muslims seek in the odd-numbered nights of the last 10 days of Ramzan, Geo News reported.

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He also urged the supporters to pray for the release and safety of all party workers and leaders, including Imran Khan and his spouse Bushra Bibi.

Last month, the PTI had announced to stage a grand power show at the Parade Ground to ensure 71-year-old Khan’s release, who has been jailed since August last year in different cases ranging from corruption to leaking state secrets.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had also directed the authorities to grant permission to the party to hold a public gathering in the federal capital.

“One’s right of assembly cannot be taken away,” IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq said on March 27 while hearing PTI’s petition seeking the court’s permission to hold a public rally in Islamabad.

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The decision to cancel the rally comes two days after the Islamabad High Court suspended the 14-year sentence given to Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in the Toshakhana corruption case.

The two were sentenced to 14 years in jail each by an accountability court on January 31 for alleged corruption in state gifts they got from the state depository, days before the general elections.

They challenged the conviction in the IHC where a two-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the case.

On Monday, the Islamabad High Court gave temporary relief to the couple in the case by suspending their sentences and granting them bail in the case.

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However, the court announced that their appeals against the conviction would be heard after the Eid festival next month.

But Khan may not be released as he is convicted in other cases and cannot be released until absolved from charges in other cases. Similarly, Bushra is also convicted in another case and may not be released after her sentence has been suspended.

In the Toshakhana corruption case, the former cricketer-turned-politician is accused of retaining expensive state gifts they received during his tenure as Pakistan’s premier.

The conviction of Khan in the Toshakhana case had come a day after he was awarded 10 years in jail in the cipher case on January 30.

Earlier, he was also convicted in a different Toshakhana case in August 2023, leading to his arrest.

The latest conviction was based on the charges of misusing his authority as prime minister to retain gifts he or his spouse got during his tenure. It was filed by the National Accountability Bureau.

The previous Toshakhana graft case was filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan in the charges of hiring the sale of state gifts.

Khan so far has been convicted in four different cases since losing power in April 2022. He has got bail in both Toshakhana cases. (PTI)






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