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Imran Khan Gets Bail But Tensions Remain High as Crackdown on PTI Members Continues

© SputnikCivil unrest in Pakistan
Civil unrest in Pakistan - Sputnik India, 1920, 12.05.2023
Sputnik got in touch with PTI members who claim that their houses are being raided by the police and rangers, while the internet is being monitored and PTI lawyer Babar Awan warns that a police team from Lahore had left for Islamabad to arrest Imran Khan in “new cases".
A short video interview was shared on PTI's official Twitter today in which Imran Khan addressed a question by a journalist who said that there are claims suggesting that Khan was granted bail by the Supreme Court unlike other politicians.
To this claim Khan expressed indignation saying that he was not arrested, he was abducted from the High Court.

Imran Khan said, "Relief? I was sitting in the High Court, they had no reason to catch me. They abducted me. After I was taken to jail only then they showed me an arrest warrant. This is a law of the jungle, the army abducts but what about the police? Where was the police? Where is the law? It feels like martial law has been declared here. Forty people have lost their lives. I found out yesterday only after I arrived at court that forty unfortunate souls have died. I didn't even know this."

After Imran Khan was taken by rangers, protests broke out in the country demanding his immediate release. The public reaction to Khan’s arrest has been unprecedented and as the situation was getting out of control of civilian law enforcement, the army was called in. Internet and social media services were also suspended, which resulted in a further outcry from the public as many netizens called the move completely undemocratic.
But in a positive turn of events for PTI and its supporters, the Supreme Court of Pakistan yesterday declared Imran Khan’s arrest illegal and ordered his release. Khan was to spend the night at Police Lines Guest House under the apex court’s protection, together with his legal team till his appearance before the Islamabad High Court today.

What Happened Next?

The hearing at the High Court today began after a nearly two-hour delay with media reporting that officials were conducting a thorough security search outside the courtroom. The hearing then took a break shortly after it began at 1pm on account of Friday prayers.
When the hearing resumed after 2:30pm, the PTI chief was present in the courtroom alongside his legal team and his lawyer Khawaja Haris presented his arguments.
Haris contended before the court that the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) actions were illegal, saying that NAB could only issue an arrest warrant after an inquiry had formerly been turned into an investigation.
The hearing went on for sometime, but in conclusion Imran Khan was granted a two-week bail by the court in the Al-Qadir Trust case against him. The court also instructed the NAB prosecutor general and Imran’s lawyers to be prepared at the next hearing, and it would decide then whether Imran’s bail should be canceled or extended at the next hearing.
After the hearing concluded, the sea of PTI workers and supporters celebrated in the streets.
In a casual conversation with journalists at the High Court, Khan said that NAB officials treated him “fine” but added that he was hit on the head while being arrested.
Despite getting a bail, Imran Khan's legal troubles are far from over as new cases could allegedly be brought forward against him following the recent unrest that swept through the country following his arrest.
PTI lawyer Babar Awan claimed that a police team from Lahore had left for Islamabad to arrest Imran in “new cases”.
"There are two to three people in the incumbent administration who are worried because if Imran Khan is released, their jobs will be in danger," he alleged, adding that this was why Punjab police had been called to the capital. The lawyer added that there were threats to Imran’s life, adding that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had also said the same.
The lawyer also said that “special people” were hired to “hunt” the PTI chief and said that those who sent Khan to jail were responsible for the violence in the country.

PTI Members in Trouble

As Khan is completely preoccupied with the legal proceedings, his party members and supporters are facing their own crisis as their homes are being raided and family members are being mistreated.
In a comment for Sputnik, Shahzaman Khan Niazi a member of the PTI said that they were instructed to protest peacefully and that's what they have been doing in Tehsil Isakhel, District Mianwali.

"We are all worried for Pakistan. There are a lot of rumors also aimed to create unrest in the country. We were totally blank about Khan's whereabouts. The party had no information on where he was taken, so we were just protesting for his release," Niazi told Sputnik.

In the videos shared by Niazi it was seen that the PTI supporters were burning tires on the road and waving PTI flags shouting out slogans.
Niazi also mentioned that there was no internet access in his district and it was blocked so it was difficult to get information in or out.
Another senior member of PTI told Sputnik, on condition of anonymity, that his houses are being raided by the police and rangers.
A video on social media was shared by a crying daughter of a senior PTI member showing how her mother was pushed and shoved by the rangers when they broke into the house. The video also showed broken furniture as the girl walked from room to room crying.
Meanwhile Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a former foreign minister and vice chairman of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was arrested early on Thursday, a statement on his Twitter profile said.
He took to Twitter to leave a message before his arrest saying that he has been in politics for over 40 years and that he loved Pakistan with all his heart and felt deep sorrow over the death of innocent civilians.
"There is a very real propaganda campaign against the PTI, attempting to position us as violent creators of terror. But I have hope that truth will prevail," Qureshi tweeted.
The Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khurshid, a PTI member, has been placed under "house arrest" in Islamabad, according to the party’s social media account.
Moreover, two other senior PTI leaders, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry, were arrested on Wednesday, the latter from outside the Supreme Court minutes after he spoke to reporters.

Where is the Prime Minister?

Analyst Zahid Hussain said that the events of May 9 "utterly exposed the fragility of the PDM government, with the prime minister deciding to stay out of Pakistan while the country burned."
Shehbaz Sharif was in London attending King Charles coronation.
"What has transpired raises questions about Shehbaz Sharif’s capacity to provide leadership in times of crisis. It’s apparent that the coalition government with its dwindling support base is now completely dependent on the security establishment for its survival," Hussian said.
However, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry on Friday stated to be having "full ability" to overcome the current prevailing situation.
"We have noted the statements that have come on the current situation in Pakistan and we remind them all that Pakistan has full ability to deal with all domestic challenges in accordance with our laws and Constitution," the official Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said during a press conference in Islamabad.
Tensions remain high in Pakistan with paramilitary troops and police on the streets in major cities on Friday. Mobile data services remained suspended and schools and offices were closed in two of Pakistan’s four provinces.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.