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Friday, June 14, 2024  
07 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

How Khan was looking on his first court appearance since arrest last year

Khan remained seated throughout the hearing but looked uncomfortable and kept changing positions

Incarcerated former prime minister Imran Khan’s party circulated a screen grab, which instantly went viral, that showed him wearing a sky-blue polo shirt, freshly shaven and with dyed hair.

He appeared before a five-member Supreme Court bench through a video link on Thursday in a case related to the amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (NAO) – the law that governs the country’s top graft buster – for an indefinite period.

The SC adjourned the case for an indefinite period, without Khan speaking. The apex court also ordered the former prime minister to appear at the next hearing via video link.

Though the origin of the screen grab could not be verified independently, it appeared to match what was shown on the screen inside the court, according to the Reuters reporter present.

Court staff were seen checking how such an image could have been captured when phones or cameras were not allowed in the courtroom, the Reuters reporter said, but the court did not take any formal notice or issue any orders for an investigation.

Khan remained seated throughout the hearing but looked uncomfortable and kept changing positions when he was not asked any questions by the court even after couple of hours, according to the Reuters reporter.

The Supreme Court had this week ordered the government to ensure that Khan be produced via video link, granting his request to be allowed to represent himself instead of through a lawyer.

Khan, who was removed from power in 2022, was granted bail in a land corruption case on Wednesday, but will remain in prison having been convicted in four cases, of which sentences in two have been suspended.

The former prime minister, who remains widely popular in Pakistan, alleges that the cases are part of an effort by his political rivals and the country’s military to sideline him and keep him from returning to power. Both deny this.

Khan-backed candidates won the most seats in a national election earlier this year despite him being in jail, but they did not have the numbers to form a government. An alliance of his rivals led by previous Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif eventually formed a government.

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