Former Pakistan PM Khan given a week to reply to contempt case

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan leaves the High Court in Islamabad after another appearance Wednesday

Former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was on Wednesday given an additional week to answer contempt of court charges brought against him for criticising a magistrate, officials from his party said.

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

The latest allegations stem from a speech he made criticising the magistrate responsible for keeping an official from his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party in police custody, after also claiming the official had been tortured.

On Wednesday, a PTI official said Khan had been given a week to file a fresh reply to the court notice after an initial one was rejected, and that the case would be heard again on September 8.

A court order seen by AFP confirmed the ruling.

Khan is also due to appear in an Anti-Terrorism Court on Thursday on a related charge for which he has been granted bail.

Despite his ouster, Khan retains widespread support, staging mass rallies railing against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government and scoring successes in recent provincial assembly by-elections.

The country has a history of those in power using the police and courts to stifle their political opponents, and PM Sharif has several pending cases brought against him while in opposition.

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.