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Pakistan anti-terror court extends bail for ex-PM Khan

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Imran Khan

Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court extended interim bail Thursday for former prime minister Imran Khan in a case surrounding comments he made about a judge involved in the detention of an official in his party.

The extension comes a day after a lower court gave him a week to respond to contempt charges in a separate case related to his comments.

The charges are another twist in months of political wrangling that began when Khan was ousted by a vote of no confidence in parliament in April.

Pakistan has a history of those in power using the police and courts to stifle political opponents, and current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also has several pending cases against him from his time in opposition.

Babar Awan, Khan’s lawyer, said the Anti-Terrorism Court extended bail until September 12 and the extension covered several new charges.

Khan was in court for the hearing after earlier asking to be excused because of death threats, Awan said.

Asad Umar, a central leader in Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, accused premier Sharif’s coalition of orchestrating “fake cases”.

The political fracas comes as Pakistan deals with devastating floods caused by record monsoon rains that have left a third of the country under water and affected more than 33 million people.