Pakistan’s Imran Khan aims to continue struggle for democracy

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ISLAMABAD (AP) – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan pressed a legal battle in a court in the capital Islamabad, admitting he will not be arrested until early next month on multiple charges of inciting terrorism-related violence.

The incident comes amid a crackdown on supporters of Mr Khan, now Pakistan’s opposition leader. Thousands of people staged violent protests and attacked public and military installations after Khan’s arrest earlier this month.

Since then, the 70-year-old former cricketer turned Islamist politician has been involved in more than 100 cases against him. He faces corruption charges allegedly committed during his tenure and eight terrorism charges linked to violent protests by his supporters and Pakistani opposition party Tehrik-e-Insaf.

After a court in Islamabad granted Khan protection from his arrest on terrorism charges until June 8 on Tuesday, he and his wife traveled to the nearby city of Rawalpindi, where Khan was accused of another bribery case. Appeared before the National Responsibility Office to answer.

After four hours of interrogation, the couple returned to Lahore. Details about Khan’s appearance were not initially disclosed before the agency.

The couple are accused of accepting a gift of land to build a private university in exchange for a profit from a real estate mogul. Khan denied the charges and claimed he and his wife Bushra Bibi were not involved in any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, close aide Khan, who served as justice minister in the government from 2018 to 2022, announced on Tuesday that he would be leaving Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Insaf party and Pakistani politics in general.

Shireen Mazari has been a vocal critic of the Pakistani military and the Sharif government. She was arrested last Thursday on charges of inciting violence, was released on Monday and was rearrested later that night. She was released shortly after, she said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Mazari has also condemned recent acts of violence by Khan’s supporters, and she is one of several Khan Party leaders who have left Khan over deadly protests.