Lahore, Jul 10 (PTI) A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has dismissed pre-arrest bail petitions of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan in three cases of riots on May 9 last year, prompting his party to reject the ruling as a ploy to prolong his detention.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder was booked on the charges of abetment in attacks on Lahore Corps Commander House known as Jinnah House, Askari Tower, and Shadman police station on May 9, 2023.

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Supporters of Khan attacked several important government buildings and army installations following his arrest in an alleged corruption case in May last year.

ATC Lahore Judge Khalid Arshad refused pre-arrest bail to Khan and dismissed his petitions in the three cases, after the prosecution equated the May 9 violence to the United States Capitol Hill attacks by supporters of former US president Donald Trump in 2021.

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The prosecution said the police required custody of the former premier to complete the investigation in the three cases.

The 71-year-old cricketer-turned-politician is facing over 200 cases and has been in Rawalpindi's Adiala jail since August last year.

Judge Arshad announced the short order at 7 pm, which he reserved on July 6 after hearing the final arguments of the prosecution and the petitioner's counsel, the Dawn newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Due to the absence of Khan's legal team, the judge decided that the court would announce a short order and come out with a detailed order later.

Reacting sharply to the court's ruling, Khan's party on Wednesday said it was a ploy to keep the former prime minister in jail.

"Rejection of pre-arrest bail pleas is a ploy to keep Imran Khan in jail for a longer period," PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said the judiciary's surrender to the oppressive, anti-democratic and anti-constitutional forces' personal agenda is the biggest catalyst for the “painful death of law and justice and a major obstacle to justice in Pakistan”.

"The state of Pakistan is under the grip of the worst personal dictatorship and the law of the jungle and the sole purpose to dismiss Imran Khan's bail pleas was to prolong his unlawful incarceration after his acquittal in all others false, fabricated and politically motivated cases," he said.

He said that despite propaganda for the past year, no evidence has been presented in any court regarding the allegations made against Khan.

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