A Pakistani court on Wednesday extended former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s detention for another two weeks on charges of leaking the contents of a classified diplomatic cable, his lawyers said.
“Imran Khan’s remand has been extended until September 26,” the former leader’s lawyer Naeem Haider Panjutha said after the hearing at the notoriously fortified Attock Prison.
Khan’s Justice Party (PTI) has already challenged the trial.
The former leader’s detention was prolonged at a time when other political parties were gaining momentum ahead of general elections.
On Tuesday, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the end of his self-imposed exile after nearly four years. He will return on October 21st.
The three-time prime minister’s return is expected to energize the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) election campaign and help garner more public attention, media coverage and voter support.
On the other hand, Khan’s party is in disarray and dozens of leaders have already changed sides while many others seem reluctant to stay.
The former sports star, 70, has faced a barrage of charges since he was removed as prime minister through a parliamentary vote of no confidence last year.
Weeks before his ouster in April 2022, Khan claimed that the United States had hatched a conspiracy with his opponents to remove him because he had become close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Last month, Khan was arrested on corruption charges and a court later suspended his sentence.
But a few hours later another court in the capital ruled that he should be held in the same prison on charges of leaking a diplomatic cable.