Pakistan frees vocal supporter of ousted premier Imran Khan

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A Pakistani court on Thursday released an anti-government retired army general after the man was arrested on charges of inciting the public and government employees against national institutions, his lawyer said.

The release of retired Lt. Gen. Amjad Shoaib, a vocal supporter of ousted premier Imran Khan, reflected the government’s practice of using laws to silence critics. The charges potentially carried a seven-year sentence.

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Shoaib’s arrest over the weekend drew condemnation from the opposition and human rights activists. He was detained after appearing on the Pakistani BOL news channel, criticizing authorities for keeping scores of Khan’s supporters jailed, especially in remote areas of the country.

On Thursday, defense lawyer Mian Ashfaq said the court threw out charges against Shoaib and freed him.

Shoaib has been a critic of the current Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif since Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April 2022. Like Khan, Shoaib says the ouster of the former premier was a conspiracy backed by the US, Washington and Sharif have denied Khan’s claims.

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