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Pakistan’s former PM Imran Khan gets bail in mutiny case

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ISLAMABAD, April 28 (PTI): A top court here on Friday granted protective bail till May 3 to Imran Khan in a mutiny case registered against the former Pakistan prime minister.

Manzoor Ahmed Khan, a magistrate, earlier this month filed a first information report (FIR) at Islamabad’s Ramna police station against the ousted prime minister for “spreading hatred between the institutions and the public” and for “trying to cause unforgivable damage to the institutions and their top officers”.

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The FIR was registered under Sections 138 (abetment of the act of insubordination by soldier, sailor or airman), Section 500 (punishment for defamation), and Section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The FIR stated that the cricketer-turned-politician in a speech from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore on March 19 made several allegations against a senior officer of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and allegedly conducted a “character assassination”.

Khan earlier today filed for bail in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) where Chief Justice Aamer Farooq after hearing the case approved his bail against surety bonds of Rs 100,000.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief travelled from Lahore to Islamabad for the case, where the police had taken stringent measures for his protection.

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A large number of PTI supporters were present on the occasion to show solidarity with their leader.

The 70-year-old PTI leader tweeted that Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police had taken his peaceful workers into custody.

“Our workers were sitting in their vehicles peacefully when ICT police, in a brazen display of state oppression, pulled them out and took them away. This is why they want elections to be delayed because they feel they can break the PTI by then, through fear of jail and harassment. Won’t work,” he tweeted.

The Dawn newspaper reported that in an informal chat with journalists inside the courtroom, Khan stated that he had requested Fawad Chaudhry and Shah Mehmood Qureshi to initiate talks with the government only if the ruling party was prepared to immediately dissolve the assemblies and hold elections.

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“There’s no need to proceed if they insist on holding polls in September or October,” Khan said in the presence of both Chaudhry and Qureshi.

Qureshi and Chaudhry are part of a three-member PTI team holding talks with the government to resolve the controversy over the holding of the elections.

The PTI is determined to press for polls in the provincial legislatures, but the federal government in Islamabad maintains its stance on simultaneous elections across the country.

The National Assembly will complete its five-year term in August this year. According to the Constitution, elections shall be held within 90 days after the dissolution of the lower house. This means that the election must be held by mid-October. The last general election was held in July 2018.

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