Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was showered with flower petals as thousands of supporters gathered in Lahore to support him ahead of a court hearing.
Khan is facing charges stemming from October 2022 protests by supporters of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) barred Khan from running for office for five years. The PTI urged its supporters to take to the streets, resulting in reported clashes with police in major cities including Islamabad and Karachi.
Take a look at the scene outside the Lahore High Court where Pakistan’s former PM Imran Khan is set to appear for bail. He’s being charged on murky anti-terrorism grounds. pic.twitter.com/33zzc25hBW
— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) February 20, 2023
The ECP charged Khan with not disclosing certain gifts received from foreign leaders to the Pakistani government. Prior to that ruling, he was ousted in a vote of no confidence in April 2022 during a Pakistani constitutional crisis.
Now, he is facing terrorism charges linked to the protests, while simultaneously recovering from an assassination attempt. Khan had requested an extension of his interim bail to recover from injuries received in a November assassination attempt.
Massive throngs of supporters dropped rose petals on Khan’s vehicle and followed him on foot for several kilometers to the Lahore High Court, causing Khan to be late, according to multiple reports. When he finally did show, he was granted protective bail until March 3 in one case, while another was dismissed, according to The Times Of India.
The former prime minister is expected to be more recovered from lower body injuries that have hampered his mobility by that March 3 date. The injuries were suffered in November when Khan was shot while speaking at a rally, before he intended to lead a march to Islamabad to demand new elections. (RELATED: US Releases Former Al-Qaida Member, ‘High-Value’ Detainee From Guantanamo Bay)
Khan had previously accused the United States of being behind his ouster, illegally sharing the contents of a diplomatic cable from Washington in the spring of 2022 which he alleged showed the U.S. was encouraging regime change in Pakistan. The State Department categorically denied those allegations.