Imran Khan: Pakistan court grants bail to former prime minister

Pending arrest warrants against the jailed former leader mean he may not be released despite court issuing bail

Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan has faced several charges since he was ousted from office in April 2022. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan has been granted bail in a case related to an alleged leak of state secrets, his lawyer said on Friday.

The country's Supreme Court ruling does not necessarily mean Khan would be released from prison, where he has been since August after being convicted on corruption charges involving the personal sale of state gifts.

There are several other arrest warrants against Khan which could prevent him from being released, his lawyer told reporters outside the hearing.

The three-member bench of the court granted bail to Khan and his deputy party leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi, subject to surety bonds of one million Pakistani rupees ($3,600) each.

Khan has faced several charges since he was ousted from office in April 2022.

The state secrets charge is related to a classified cable sent to Islamabad by Pakistan's ambassador in Washington last year, which Khan is accused of making public.

Khan denies the charge and says the cable appeared in the media from other sources.

The ruling comes ahead of the country's general election in February.

Khan is currently banned from standing in the election due to the corruption charge, but has said he plans to run regardless.

Khan plans on filing his nomination papers ahead of the deadline on Sunday, his party said.

The former cricket star is seen as widely popular in Pakistan. Even if he is unable to run, his potential release is seen as a boost for his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Khan accuses the country's military of manufacturing charges against him to prevent him from running in the election.

“It is completely the establishment” that is behind the crackdown against him, he said in June.

“Establishment obviously means the military establishment, because they are really now openly – I mean, it's not even hidden now – they're just out in the open.”

The military denies the claims.

Updated: December 22, 2023, 12:29 PM