A Pakistani high court has overturned terrorism charges against former prime minister Imran Khan, his lawyers have said; a relief for the former cricket star who has faced a series of legal setbacks since being ousted from office.
Key points: Mr. Khan’s case will now be tried in an ordinary court instead of a counter-terrorism court. The former prime minister had faced several cases since his ousting in April.
The court said Mr Khan’s alleged offense did not warrant terrorism charges, said Faisal Chaudhry, one of his lawyers.
“The case against Imran Khan, however, will remain intact, it will now be tried in an ordinary court, instead of an anti-terrorism court,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“It’s actually an order to drop the charges,” said another of his lawyers, Babar Awan.
“It only proves that these are trumped up accusations and just a tool for political victimization.”
The charges relate to a speech by Mr Khan in which he allegedly threatened police and magistrates after one of his close associates was denied bail in a sedition case.
Mr Khan then explained that his remarks were not meant to be threatening.
If found guilty, Mr. Khan could be disqualified from political life for at least five years. (AP: KM Chaudary)
The former prime minister has faced several cases since he was ousted in April in a confidence vote won by opposition parties in an effort led by his successor, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
One of the cases is at a crucial stage before the High Court, which is due to indict Mr Khan on September 22 in a contempt of court case for threatening the judicial officer.
If found guilty, he could be disqualified from politics for at least five years.
Another case concerns the foreign funding of his Pakistani party Tehreek-e-Insaf which an electoral tribunal ruled illegal.
Mr Khan, who came to power in a 2018 election allegedly with support from the Pakistani military, has fallen out of favor with powerful generals.
The army and Mr Khan deny that he came to power with the support of the army.
Since his ousting, he has held rallies across the country demanding snap polls, but the ruling coalition has refused, saying elections will be held as scheduled by the end of 2023.
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