Imran Pakistan
Security personnel with ballistic shields escort former Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan (unseen) as he leaves from Islamabad High court in Islamabad on May 31, 2023, after Khan was granted bail in multiple cases. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: Embattled Pakistan opposition leader Imran Khan returned to court on Wednesday, as the nation’s human rights watchdog warned all sides are to blame in a rapidly deteriorating democratic crisis.

Khan’s brief arrest earlier this month sparked days of deadly unrest, before a crackdown on his party, including mass arrests and a pledge to try some protesters in army courts.

The Islamabad High Court and a specialist corruption court granted Khan bail on Wednesday in the same graft case which prompted his arrest on May 9, his lawyers said.

Thousands, including grassroots supporters and key Khan aides, have been rounded up since the Supreme Court declared that detention illegal and allowed him to walk free.

Islamabad says the arrests are justified because it was targeted by anti-state terrorism, while Khan claims his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is being quashed ahead of elections due by October.

But Hina Jilani, the head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), issued a stark warning to “all political stakeholders”.

“Unless they desist from any further measures that could imperil the country’s fragile democracy, they may find themselves unable to steer the country safely through the multiple crises it is facing.”