EX-PM Imran Khan, the chief of PTI, has been apprehended by the Rangers outside the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The confirmation of Imran Khan’s custody by the Rangers outside the Islamabad High Court was made by PTI lawyer Faisal Chaudhry. This caused IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq to direct the Islamabad police chief, the interior ministry secretary, and the additional attorney general to appear before the court in 15 minutes.
Justice Farooq expressed restraint but warned that he would summon the prime minister if the Islamabad police chief failed to appear before the court. He further added that the police chief should come to the court and explain the reasons for Imran Khan’s arrest and under which case it was made.
It also shared a video of visuals from Imran’s alleged arrest. “Pakistan’s brave people must come out and defend their country,” the party said.
PTI leader Musarrat Cheema, in a video message on Twitter, said: “They are torturing Imran Khan right now […] they are beating Khan sahib. They have done something with Khan sahib.”
Fawad, in another tweet, made a claim that Imran had been taken by unknown individuals to an unknown location from the court while many lawyers and general people were subjected to “torture.”
The official Twitter account of PTI shared the video of Imran’s lawyer stating that he was severely injured outside the IHC.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad police announced the imposition of Section 144 in the capital city. They denied PTI’s allegations of torture and clarified that the police had surrounded Imran’s vehicle.
Rangers ‘Tortured’ Imran Khan
Media personnel were informed by Barrister Ali Gohar, Khan’s lawyer, that the party chairman was “tortured” by the Rangers personnel during his arrest. According to him, “Imran Khan was hit on the head and his injured leg.”
He also mentioned that he and Ali Bukhari were present with the PTI chief at the moment of the arrest.
Advocate Gohar went on to say, “Rangers broke through the glass and entered the diary branch,” and that the Rangers personnel broke IHC’s main gate before ransacking the IHC office.
Islamabad High Court hearing
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the Islamabad police chief, the interior ministry secretary, and the additional attorney general to appear before the court when they took notice of Imran Khan’s arrest earlier in the day.
The court warned that it would summon the prime minister if the police chief did not appear. When the hearing resumed, the Islamabad IG appeared before the court, and the IHC CJ expressed anger at the delay in the appearance, noting that he had asked the officials to appear in court within 15 minutes but had taken 45 minutes.
The IG replied that he had learned of Imran’s arrest from the media and submitted the PTI chief’s arrest warrant in court. The court observed that Imran was not arrested by the NAB but was arrested in a case involving corrupt practices and warned that it would issue an appropriate order if the arrest was in violation of the law.
Barrister Gohar Khan, who was present during Imran’s arrest, told the court that Rangers officials arrested the PTI chief before he entered the biometric room, broke down the windows, and used pepper spray.
Khawaja Haris, a PTI lawyer, argued that the law did not allow NAB to arrest a person while an inquiry was still underway. The court was urged to restore the dignity of the court, and Justice Farooq pointed out that the entire matter concerned the “system” and sought answers from the authorities. The judge also summoned the director-general of NAB Rawalpindi and the prosecutor-general to appear before the court within 30 minutes.
Govt denies reports of torture
The Minister for Interior, Rana Sanaullah, denied claims of physical harm inflicted on the PTI chairman during his arrest.
In a tweet, the senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) clarified that Imran Khan failed to attend the hearings despite repeated notices. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested him for his involvement in causing damage to the national treasury.
The interior minister asserted that Khan was not subjected to any form of torture, as he posted on his official handle.
Six-member body to announce next move
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed his disapproval of the “illegal” arrest of his party leader, Imran Khan. He called upon the nation to take to the streets in protest.
PTI Secretary General Asad Umar took to Twitter to condemn the arrest of Imran Khan and announced that a committee will decide the next plan of action. Umar stated that the country’s lawlessness was evident after the arrest of Pakistan’s biggest political leader following an attack on the high court. He also revealed that the party’s six-member committee, formed by Khan and headed by Shah Mehmood Qureshi, will announce the PTI’s plan of action.
PTI leader Murad Saeed, in an audio message shared via PTI’s official Twitter account, claimed that Imran Khan had been subjected to torture and arrested. Saeed urged supporters, especially the youth, to come out and protest against the PTI chief’s arrest, saying that it was time to free Pakistan from oppressors and false gods, and time for “Haqeeqi Azadi”.
Protests reported in several cities
Meanwhile, protests were reported in several cities across the country.
In Lahore, supporters of PTI led by Senator Ejaz Chaudhry gathered at Liberty Chowk. Party workers had also closed down Akbar Chowk, Peco Road, Main Canal Road, and Faisal Town. The demonstrators burned tyres and chanted slogans against the coalition government.
The correspondent further reported that a water cannon was being used against the protesters who had gathered outside Imran’s Zaman Park residence.
Meanwhile, the police were put on high alert in Lahore. A statement issued by Lahore police said that security across the city had been beefed up on the instructions of Lahore Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Syed Ali Nasir Rizvi.
The statement further said that the DIG had directed officials to increase checking at the city’s entry and exit points and ordered them to stay in the field. He also directed the police to increase patrolling in the city and ensure peace.
“Nobody can be allowed to destroy peace in the city. Those spreading anarchy and disorder should be brought to justice,” the statement quoted him as saying.
In Karachi, both lanes of Sharea Faisal were blocked after PTI MNAs and MPAs blocked the roads. Demonstrations were also reported at the main University Road, near the Old Sabzi Mandi, Banaras Chowk, and Al-Asif Square.
Separately, PTI’s Sindh chapter issued a protest call, asking supporters to gather outside Insaf House at 4 pm.
Demonstrations were also reported in Peshawar’s Hashtnagri and GT Road, Bannu, and Charsadda.
What is Al-Qadir Trust case?
The NAB inquiry into a settlement between the PTI government and a property tycoon, reportedly resulting in a loss of 190 million pounds to the national exchequer, has implicated former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his wife Bushra Bibi, and other PTI leaders.
The charges allege that Sharif and other accused adjusted Rs50 billion, or 190 million pounds at the time, sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency to the government.
In addition, they are accused of receiving the undue benefit in the form of over 458 canals of land in Mouza Bakrala, Sohawa, to establish Al Qadir University.