Imran Arrested: Islamabad High Court Approves
Update since original publication:Pakistan’s Supreme Court orders the release of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 11.
By Mahvish Akhtar
PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, was arrested earlier on May 9, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Al-Qadir Trust case. The arrest happened during a court appearance in the capital of Pakistan. Islamabad High Court Judge has ruled in favor of the arrest.
Islamabad Police released a statement from Inspector General (IG) Akbar Nasir Khan, stating that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was arrested concerning the Al Qadir Trust case, which alleges that the PTI chief and his wife obtained millions of dollars and land worth hundreds of miles from a real estate firm for legalizing Rs.50 billion that was identified and returned to the country by the UK during the previous PTI government.
As the footage of Khan being arrested and escorted to the paramilitary (ranger’s) vehicle circulated, the media and social media PTI’s Twitter followed the clip with the words, “Rangers abducted PTI Chairman Imran Khan, these are the visuals. Pakistan’s brave people must come out and defend their country.”
Fawad Chaudhry, a PTI leader, tweeted that the Islamabad High Court complex was “occupied” by the Pakistani Rangers and lawyers were “being subjected to torture.” Islamabad’s Inspector General (IG), however, said in a statement, “The situation is normal. Section 144 is in place, and violations will result in police action”.
Since his removal from power last year, Khan has been battling dozens of lawsuits in which he denies any wrongdoing. He has maintained that this is all an attempt to distract from the real issues and take him out of the equation however necessary. Khan, who has been pushing for elections as early as possible, claims all the backlash against him is politically motivated.
Just a day earlier, the PTI chief had been warned by the military against making “baseless allegations” about its senior officers plotting to kill him. The Military had helped Imran Khan rise to power and take political control of many areas in Pakistan where a political party like PTI would have a hard time creating a foothold. However, as the no-confidence vote in the parliament was imminent last year, all military support was withdrawn, and the relationship between the two organizations became cold and stiff.
Meanwhile, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Aamer Farooq summoned the IG of Islamabad, the secretary of interior, and the additional attorney general to investigate the arrests. The PTI senior party leader Fawad Chaudhry urged the people to come out of their homes as he termed the arrest “an attack” on the people of Pakistan. “Imran Khan’s arrest is equivalent to shutting down the judiciary,” he said. PTI leadership also claimed that Khan had been tortured and manhandled.
The NAB officials said they wrote a letter to the interior ministry for the PTI chief’s arrest. The IHC CJ remarked that nobody is above the law. He added lawyers sustained wounds due to the chaos in the high court. In the late evening, CJ Amer Farooq deemed the arrest legal as per law.
A seven-member medical board has been formed at the Poly Clinic in Islamabad for the medical examination of the former prime minister.
The seven-member medical board, which includes experts in medicine, orthopedics, cardiology, general surgery, and pathology, has been formed under the leadership of Dr. Fareed Allah Shah. Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed has also been included in the C.M.O. Poly Clinic.
In a video message, Awami Muslim League (AML) leader Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said Imran Khan will become a “hero to the public” because of the “unwise decisions of the government.”
Protesters have blocked roads in the country’s capital, Islamabad, and the neighboring cities of Rawalpindi and Peshawar. Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse Khan supporters in Karachi and Lahore. Video footage of PTI supporters and workers burning the homes of military officials is creating panic and fear on all sides.
A few hours before his arrest, a recorded video was posted on the former PM’s YouTube channel in which he addressed the nation, saying that he does not know when he will get a chance to speak to the public candidly again. He also said that no country is handed freedom “on a platter,” and they had to come out and fight for it. “This country has known me for 50 years. I have never done anything illegal or against theConstitution. These are all tricks from the imported government”, he said.