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Pakistan’s Information Minister denies declaring state of emergency

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Islamabad: Pakistani Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday denied reports that a state of emergency was declared in her country amid civil unrest, noting that the cabinet did not make such a decision.

“Media reports about the declaration of a national emergency are groundless. The cabinet meeting did not decide to declare a state of emergency,” the minister was quoted as saying by Pakistani state-owned broadcaster PTV News.

Aurangzeb urged media not to publish any news without preliminary verification.

On Tuesday, protests flared in many cities of Pakistan after Imran Khan, the former prime minister and the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) opposition party, was taken into custody following a hearing at the Islamabad High Court in connection with corruption. The politician is facing an inquiry in the case related to a settlement between the PTI government and a property tycoon, which reportedly caused a loss of 50 billion Pakistani rupees ($17.6 million) to the national exchequer. On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the arrest of Khan illegal and ordered his immediate release.

On Friday, the judicial board of the Islamabad Supreme Court released Khan on bail until May 26. It also barred the authorities from arresting Khan until May 17 in connection with any new cases filed against him after May 9.

Currently, several dozen criminal cases have been initiated against Khan in various courts of the country, local media reported. Khan’s lawyers filed additional lawsuits during the hearing on Friday, in which they called on the Supreme Court to combine all the cases brought against the ex-prime minister and instruct the authorities to provide detailed information about the cases registered against him.

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