Pakistani TV presenter released days after arrest in capital

LAHORE, Pakistan – A prominent Pakistani TV host was released on Saturday after he was arrested near Islamabad earlier this week and after a high court granted him bail in one case and dismissed other cases against him, a prosecutor said.

Imran Riaz Khan was taken into custody on Tuesday — despite weeks earlier a court in the Pakistani capital Islamabad ordered police not to arrest him and several other journalists over complaints they incited hatred against the country’s powerful military.

A total of 17 cases against Khan have been registered in different cities in Punjab, the country’s most populous province.

According to Punjab Advocate General Pervez Shaukat, Khan has been released on bail for a period of 10 days – pending his next hearing – on charges of “inciting people to riot and creating chaos”. The other 16 cases were dismissed.

Khan, a presenter who most recently hosted a show on Sama TV, is known for blogging on social media and publicly supporting former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The two are not related. The former prime minister has spoken out against the TV presenter’s arrest.

Shaukat told the Lahore High Court at Saturday’s hearing that the government, which had unsuccessfully tried to bring treason charges against the presenter, had no objection to bail being granted.

The court also asked Khan for assurances that he would not make any controversial statements until the next hearing, Shaukat said.

In April, Imran Khan was ousted as Prime Minister by a vote of no confidence in Parliament. He claims his removal was part of a US conspiracy, a charge Washington denies.

Meanwhile, another TV presenter, Sami Ibrahim, was attacked and beaten by two attackers who tried to extort money from him outside the journalist’s office in Islamabad on Saturday before fleeing the scene in a car. Ibrahim is also a supporter of the former prime minister. Pakistani TV presenter released days after arrest in capital

Dustin Huang

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