Protests rock Pakistan as Imran Khan faces court today; to be in custody for 4-5 days

Protests rock Pakistan as Imran Khan faces court today; to be in custody for 4-5 days

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, who was arrested dramatically on Tuesday (May 9) in a corruption case, is likely to remain in the custody of the country’s anti-graft agency for “four to five days” and is expected to be presented before an accountability court, a media report said on Wednesday (May 10).

Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) summoned party leaders, workers and supporters to the Islamabad Judicial Complex on Wednesday even as protests decrying the former prime minister’s arrest rocked various parts of the country.

Khan, 70, was arrested by the paramilitary Rangers in a corruption case from the Islamabad High Court and bundled into a prison van sparking massive protests across the country by supporters of his PTI.

Khan’s party has claimed that at least four people were killed and over a dozen injured in different parts of the country in violent clashes between the security forces and PTI supporters.

“At least four PTI workers were killed so far in different parts of the country on the firing of the law enforcement agencies. One each has been killed in Lahore, Faisalabad, Quetta, and Swat,” senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari said on Tuesday (May 9).

Imran Khan will be presented before the NAB court on May 10

Khan will be presented before the accountability court on Wednesday (May 10), a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) source was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

“We will do our best to keep him under custody for at least four to five days,” the source said.

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

Under new amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, the duration of physical remand has been cut from 90 days to 14 days, granted by any court.

“We will seek the maximum physical remand of 14 days from the court,” he said, adding that the court was expected to grant at least four to five days remand, the report said.

The arrest of the former cricketer-turned-politician comes a day after the powerful army accused Khan of levelling baseless allegations against a senior officer of the spy agency ISI.

‘Khan will not be treated harshly’

When asked about the condition of the PTI chief, the source said Khan was detained in NAB’s Rawalpindi/Islamabad regional headquarters in a comfortable atmosphere.

“He will not be treated harshly, rather he will only be questioned regarding his alleged involvement in the case and seeking monetary benefits,” said the source.

NAB releases details of case against Imran

In an official statement, the bureau has also given the details about the case against Khan. On Tuesday (May 9), a NAB official said that Khan had been arrested in the case related to Al-Qadir Trust, owned by the PTI chairman and his wife Bushra Bibi, which is about the setting up of Al-Qadir University for Sufism in the Sohawa area of Jhelum district of Punjab.

Khan’s arrest warrant, issued on May 1, said that he was accused of corruption and corrupt practice.

The anti-graft watchdog has also justified the PTI chief’s arrest with the help of Rangers from inside the court premises on Tuesday (May 9), and termed it legal and purely according to the NAB laws.

Also read: Imran Khan faces 120 cases throughout Pakistan on various charges

“NAB arrested former prime minister Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case. The case relates to illegal acquisition of land and construction for Al-Qadir University involving unlawful benefit given in recovery of prime proceeds (190 million pounds) through National Crime Agency, UK,” the statement said.

“The arrest has been made after fulfilling the lawful procedures of inquiry and investigation conducted by NAB,” the anti-graft watchdog asserted.

It said during the process of inquiry/investigation, several notices were issued to Khan and his wife as they were the trustees of Al-Qadir Trust. However, none of the call-up notices was responded to by the former prime minister or his wife.

NAB to arrest others, including key accused Shehzad Akbar

Meanwhile, the NAB is also out to arrest other alleged characters in the Al-Qadir University and Trust case in which Khan was arrested and has completed the process to issue a red warrant through Interpol to arrest Khan’s former adviser on accountability, Shehzad Akbar.

The statement named accused Akbar of being the key person in the case.

Also read: Imran Khan arrest: Supporters storm Pakistan Army headquarters

“He (Akbar) and the former prime minister misled the federal cabinet by concealing the documents related to the settlement agreement. Money was received under the settlement agreement and was supposed to be deposited in the national exchequer,” it added.

The NAB statement said the process of issuing of Red notice against former adviser Akbar, who is absconding, has already been initiated.

Massive protests across Pakistan after Imran Khan’s arrest

As the news of Khan’s arrest spread, massive protests broke out in several cities across Pakistan. Protesters at several places turned violent and burned police vehicles and damaged public property.

International protests

People gathered in protest outside the residence of the Pakistani ambassador in Washington, DC to protest against the arrest of Imran Khan.

One of the protesters, Imran, said, “If anything happens to Imran Khan, I fear the worst in Pakistan. We demand his immediate release.”

Thousands of Pakistani-Canadians gathered at Mississauga Celebration Square in Ontario, Canada on Wednesday (May 10) to protest against “the fascist abduction of Pakistan’s most popular and beloved leader, Imran Khan”.

Pakistani-Americans took out a rally in Chicago to express solidarity with Imran Khan.

One of the tweets by a PTI supporter had a collage of protests in cities across the world.

(With inputs from agencies)

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