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From Allegations to Acquittal: Imran Khan Exonerated in Vandalism Cases

© Sputnik / Aneela RashidImran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has launched a nationwide protest against alleged ballot-rigging
Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has launched a nationwide protest against alleged ballot-rigging - Sputnik India, 1920, 22.05.2024
On Monday, a district court acquitted Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan and other members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on charges filed nearly two years ago, accusing them of various offences including violence, rioting and the use of explosives during a march on May 2022.
On Monday, a local court acquitted former Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders.
Sputnik spoke to a former three-star military official, Hassan Zulfikar, who said that Khan's recent acquittal in these cases has several layers of significance.

"Imran Khan's acquittal is a vindication of sorts, legally absolving him of the allegations levied during the Azadi March. From a legal standpoint, this decision underscores the principle of innocence until proven guilty and upholds the sanctity of the judicial process. It reinforces the notion that justice in Pakistan is not subject to political whims and that individuals, regardless of their stature, are entitled to fair trials," the ex-official said.

In terms of political ramifications for PTI this verdict serves as a morale booster, according to the ex-official, reinforcing the perception of Khan as a resilient leader who can weather legal and political storms.
"It strengthens PTI's narrative of being a party committed to accountability, as Khan emerges unscathed from allegations of misconduct during a major protest movement. So it is definitely a win for the party," Zulfikar told.
Meantime, before the magistrate, PTI's lawyer Naeem Haider Panjutha argued that the case couldn't proceed because the First Information Report (FIR) had been lodged by an unauthorised person under Section 144.
The defence also claimed that there was no video evidence implicating the former prime minister in the alleged offences. Panjotha urged the court to exonerate the PTI leader, citing the baseless nature of the charges and emphasising that the case against Imran Khan was politically motivated.

International Pressure on Military Establishment

Sputnik also contacted Fahad Masood, a retired squadron leader of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and an international security analyst, who believes "there is a lot of international pressure on the Pakistani military establishment to improve the circumstances surrounding Imran Khan's situation". According to Masood, pressure was also building up inside the country against the military establishment and the current government.

"The current government wants to indicate that there is some semblance of justice in the country because recently the courts and judges have faced multiple allegations of obstructing justice for Khan and PTI. However, I don't think Khan will be released from prison in the near future, maybe in the distant future because right now if he comes out, he will do more damage to the military establishment and the current government, so they perceive him as a threat," Masood told Sputnik.

Leading the marchers in May 2022, Khan gave the government six days to announce elections and dissolve assemblies, warning that he would otherwise return to the capital with the 'entire nation'. Meanwhile, amid the fervour of the protests, allegations of vandalism and destruction of public property have emerged, tarnishing the image of the movement and creating legal challenges for its leaders, including Imran Khan.
On 9 May 2023 the former prime minister and several other PTI leaders were arrested due to various charges in several cases, still remain behind bars in Adiala Jail.
Supporter of former prime minister Imran Khan and political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) attend during an election campaign rally in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. - Sputnik India, 1920, 26.03.2024
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