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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Pakistan court drops murder abetment charges against Imran Khan – lawyer

Police registered an "abetment to murder" case against former cricket hero Khan, 70, who faces dozens of charges since his ouster in a parliamentary vote of confidence in April last year.

Pakistani police on Wednesday formally named former Prime Minister Imran Khan in connection with the murder by unknown gunmen of a lawyer seeking sedition proceedings against him.

Police registered an “abetment to murder” case against former cricket hero Khan, 70, who faces dozens of charges since his ouster in a parliamentary vote of confidence in April last year.

Read more: Watch: Imran Khan’s legal team rescued from IHC lift after hue & cry

Khan, who has not been charged in connection with the lawyer’s murder, has dismissed all the cases against him as concocted by his opponents.

In a live online broadcast, Khan denied the allegations adding that he would appear in court on Thursday to seek bail for 16 other cases.

Provincial government spokesman Babar Khan said Khan could face formal charges if and when the murder case goes to trial.

Abdur Razaq, the murdered lawyer, had filed a court petition seeking sedition proceedings against Khan for dissolving his government after the no-confidence motion.

Razaq was on his way to court on Tuesday when gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed him, police said.

Read more: PTI requests nation to write letters to Imran Khan

Razaq’s son, Siraj Ahmad, also a lawyer, told police that his father had been killed by unknown men with the “abetment of the former prime minister”, according to a police report filed by him and seen by Reuters.

It was not immediately clear how the link between unknown gunmen and Khan was made.

Last week, Khan was released on bail on terrorism charges of abetting violence against the military by his protesting supporters after he was arrested and detained on May 9 in a corruption case.

The embattled Khan is embroiled in a confrontation with the powerful military, which has ruled Pakistan directly or overseen civilian governments throughout its history.

His May 9 arrest sparked widespread protests by his supporters who ransacked military facilities, raising new worries about the stability of the nuclear-armed South Asian nation as it struggles with its worst economic crisis in decades.

Khan has appealed for talks to end the standoff with the military. The government has rejected his call and the military has said enactors and masterminds of the May 9 violence would be tried under army laws.

Khan has accused the military and its intelligence agency of openly trying to destroy his party, saying he has “no doubt” he will be tried in a military court and thrown into jail. The military has said it is not behind a crackdown on political activities.