Thursday, May 30, 2024

Former Pakistani PM, Imran Khan, arrested

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s former prime minister, was arrested on Tuesday during a court appearance in the capital, Islamabad. The 70-year-old was arrested by agents from the country’s anti-corruption body, the National Accountability Bureau.

The cricketer-turned-politician has been arrested during a court appearance in Islamabad. Fawad Chaudhry, of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, confirmed the arrest in a tweet on Tuesday.

Chaudhry, a PTI leader and former minister of information during Khan’s reign as prime minister, has termed the arrest an “abduction”.

“Imran Khan has been whisked away by unknown people to an unknown location,” he tweeted.

PTI leader Hammad Azhar also said in a video posted on the party’s Twitter account that Khan was handled violently by the pararmilitary force officials while he was being taken away.

Video footage on local media showed Khan being escorted to a Rangers vehicle.

Khan’s spokesman Raoof Hasan has stated that the former prime minister was arrested before his hearing could begin.

“He was taken away from inside the court before he could appear before the judges, which is in violation of all laws,” he told Al Jazeera.

Khan’s lawyer has also accused the Rangers of hitting Khan on his head and kicking him before taking him away.

“Rangers forcibly entered and broke the door and window [of the room]. They picked up Imran Khan from his wheelchair, hit him on his head and kicked him,” Gohar Ali Khan, who was accompanying the former prime minister at the Islamabad High Court, stated in a video posted on the PTI’s social media account.

“I fell during the commotion. Rangers pepper sprayed him and took him away,” the lawyer continued.

Ali Khan added no police officials were present inside the room where Khan was arrested from.

The official Twitter account of Islamabad police confirmed that Khan was arrested in connection to a graft case.

“Imran Khan has been arrested in the Qadir Trust case,” the Islamabad police official Twitter account said, referring to a graft case.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Khan has been arrested for damaging the country’s state depository, in reference to the corruption charges against the former prime minister.

Sanaullah announced that Khan was arrested in a case involving the embezzlement of 190 million British pounds ($239m), which was caught in the United Kingdom.

Sanaullah noted that Khan’s arrest was made “in accordance with the law” and upon the orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

“NAB is an independent institution and we have never tried to control it,” he told reporters.

“Imran Khan did not appear [in court] despite the notices,” Sanaullah continued. He denied that Khan was handled violently by the paramilitary officials who arrested him.

In a Twitter post, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif accused Khan for assailing the military over a shooting attack that had wounded the former prime minister.

“Let this be abundantly clear that you, as former prime minister, currently on trial for corruption, are claiming legitimacy to overturn the legal and political system,” Sharif wrote.

In a video message posted before setting off for Islamabad, Khan had stated he was “ready to go to jail” if officials presented an arrest warrant.

“There is no need to bring police, Rangers and army in order to arrest me,” Khan said in the message as he left his home in the eastern city of Lahore.

“If someone has a warrant, they can show it to me and my legal team and I will hand myself in. I am ready to go to jail,” the ex-PM added.

Khan claimed there was no case against him but he was “mentally prepared” to hand himself in.

Following Khan’s arrest, protests have broken out across Pakistan.

Supporters of Khan’s PTI party have taken to the streets in all major cities, including the provincial capitals of Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

Videos posted on the party’s social media accounts purportedly showed police firing tear gas at demonstrators in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.

Police have used tear gas and water cannon to quell protests that erupted in several cities across Pakistan following Khan’s arrest.

In Karachi, police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators who had gathered on the main road running through the country’s largest city.

In the eastern city of Lahore, where Khan resides, police used water cannon, according to reports.

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