Thursday, June 20, 2024

Pakistan court “dismisses murder charges” against ex-PM Imran Khan

A Pakistani court has dismissed murder charges against former Prime Minister Imran Khan, his lawyer confirmed on Monday.

“God be praised,” his lawyer Naeem Panjutha wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Panjutha said that the charges, which were related to the murder of a lawyer in the southern city of Quetta, had been dropped by the Balochistan High Court.

Khan was accused of the murder in June this year, and has been grappling with this and around 170 other cases brought against him since he was ousted from office. He has denied the charges, which range from graft to sedition, as politically motivated.

He was arrested earlier this month in relation to a corruption case and remains in detention.

Earlier this month, a trial court found Khan guilty of illegally selling state gifts, locally known as the Toshakhana case, and sentenced him to jail for three years. A separate hearing was also taking place on Monday at the Islamabad High Court in which Khan’s lawyers were appealing for that conviction to be suspended.

Abdul Razzaq Shar, a senior advocate, was murdered by unidentified individuals riding three motorcycles on 6 June. The attack on him took place as he was on his way to the Balochistan High Court, local media reported.

The slain lawyer’s son had registered a First Information Report (an initial chargesheet that represents the first step in criminal investigations in Pakistan) with the police against Khan and others from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Ataullah Tarar, special assistant to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, stated at the time that the murder was closely connected to a treason case against Khan, which Shar had been working on.

Khan remains in the high-security Attock prison in connection with a corruption case. He was arrested immediately after the court sentence in the eastern city of Lahore.

The former prime minister was also barred from politics for five years by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

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