ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan accused the government yesterday of trying to score a “technical knockout” against him, after being granted bail on charges brought under the country’s anti-terrorism act.
Khan’s court appearance is the latest twist in months of political wrangling that began when he was ousted by a vote of no confidence in the national assembly in April.
The former cricket star retains widespread support, however, staging mass rallies railing against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government and scoring successes in recent provincial assembly by-elections.
A court judgement was not immediately available, but officials from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said he had been granted “interim bail” until September 1.
The latest allegations against Khan stem from a weekend rally when he criticised a magistrate responsible for keeping a PTI official in police custody, after party leaders said he was “tortured”.
Outside the court, Khan repeated his criticism of the judge and said the government was running scared because of his popularity.
“Due to that fear, they are looking for technical knockouts. Just to save themselves, they are making a mockery of the country,” he said.
The political crisis comes as officials struggle to deal with record monsoon rains that have flooded a vast swathe of the country.