Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan arrested; being ‘tortured’, says party

Paramilitary Rangers arrest Khan at the Islamabad High Court, where he was present for the hearing of a corruption case

Imran Khan

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested by paramilitary Rangers on Tuesday (May 9) while he was present at the Islamabad High Court for the hearing of a corruption case, a day after he took on the country’s powerful army for allegedly hatching a plot to kill him.

His party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) confirmed the arrest of the 70-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician. The arrest comes a day after the powerful army had accused Khan of levelling baseless allegations against a senior officer of the spy agency ISI.

The PTI chairman, who travelled from Lahore to the federal capital Islamabad, was undergoing a biometric process at the court when the Rangers broke open the glass window and arrested him after beating lawyers and Khans security staff, according to senior party leader Shireen Mazari. TV footage showed the Rangers grabbing Khan from the collar and bundling him into a prison van.

“Mr Khan has been arrested in a land transfer case to property tycoon Malik Riaz and is being handed over to National Accountability Bureau (NAB)”, a NAB official confirmed to news agency PTI. He said that Khan has been arrested in the Al-Qadir Trust case. “His arrest warrants were issued today morning and subsequently he is arrested,” he said.

Party alleges torture

Former information minister and PTI Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry said that the court has been “occupied by the Rangers” and lawyers are being subjected to torture.

“State terrorism – breaking into IHC premises to abduct Imran Khan from court premises. Law of the jungle in operation. Rangers beat the lawyers, used violence on Imran Khan and abducted him,” tweeted Mazari. The party alleged that Khan was being tortured but it was not confirmed independently.

The Dawn newspaper reported that IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq directed the Islamabad police chief, the interior ministry secretary and the additional attorney general to appear before the court within 15 minutes. Chief Justice Farooq said that he was showing “restraint” and warned that he would summon the prime minister if the Islamabad police chief did not appear before the court.

(With Agency inputs)