Tuesday, May 09, 2023
ISLAMABAD: The country’s restive politics is likely in for a flare-up as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan was arrested by Rangers personnel from Islamabad High Court (IHC) — acting on National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) warrant.
The PTI chairman was arrested as part of NAB’s investigation in the Al-Qadir Trust case ahead of his appearance before the IHC to seek bail in multiple FIRs registered against him.
Rangers personnel driving a black Toyota Hilux Vigo took Imran Khan away to NAB Rawalpindi.
It appears Khan got wind of his arrest hours earlier as before leaving for the court the PTI chief said: “If someone has a warrant, they should directly bring it to me. Bring the warrant, my lawyer will be there. I’m ready to go to the jail myself.”
The former premier, while demanding that he be approached through a warrant, urged against staging any drama.
“There is no case against me. I’m mentally prepared to be arrested. If I have to go to jail, I’m ready,” Khan said. The cricketer-turned-politician said that the nation knows him for the last 50 years.
Khan's dramatic arrest, in which paramilitary troops had to break several doors, jump through smashed windows, and scuffle with PTI supporters and lawyers to reach the legally beleaguered firebrand politician, has sparked protests across the country.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Dr Akbar Nasir Khan confirmed the development and said that the situation was under control.
According to Geo News, the PTI chairman was in the IHC's biometric verification department when he was nabbed by paramilitary men. The NAB officials had arrest warrants.
Khan’s warrants were issued on May 1 by NAB chairman Lt Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmad Butt.
NAB in a statement said Khan was booked under Section 9A of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999.
"The arrest was ordered and implemented by the NAB," the accountability watchdog said in a statement, adding, "Rangers troops were deployed for the action on the orders of the Ministry of the Interior".
The statement made it clear that the Rangers did not detain Khan, while Section 144 was already imposed in the federal capital.
Meanwhile, Geo News has obtained an exclusive video of when the PTI chief was arrested. In the video, Khan can be seen sitting with sunglasses calmly observing the developments.
Khan’s lawyer Barrister Ali Gohar told media personnel that the Rangers personnel “tortured” the party chairman during the arrest.
“Imran Khan was hit on the head and his injured leg,” he claimed.
He added that he and Ali Bukhari were present with the PTI chief at the time of the arrest.
“Rangers broke through the glass and entered the diary branch,” Advocate Gohar further said, adding the Rangers personnel broke IHC’s main gate before ransacking the IHC office.
The IHC termed the arrested of PTI Chairman Khan legal in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq — who had raised questions over the Rangers' move to arrest Khan from the court's premises earlier in the day — announced the reserved verdict.
The IHC also issued notices to the Islamabad inspector general of police and the interior secretary over contempt of court.
The chief justice ordered the high court registrar to get a first information report (FIR) registered over the circumstances of the arrest, which included manhandling the lawyers present nearby as well as damage to the court building.
He also instructed the registrar to conduct an inquiry and submit a report by May 16.
Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah categorically denied reports of inflicting torture on the PTI chairman during his arrest.
Taking to Twitter, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader said: "Imran Khan did not ensure his appearance despite several notices. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested him for causing damage to the national treasury.
"No sort of torture was inflicted on him [Khan]," the interior minister wrote on his official handle.
Meanwhile, the PTI has condemned the arrest of the party chairman terming it an "abduction" by the law enforcement agency and urged the supporters and workers to stage protests across the country.
Subsequently, PTI workers held protests in cities across the country, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, and Mardan.
In Karachi, demonstrators clashed with the police near Nursery. They threw stones at and set fire to police vehicles, tore down street lights and damaged a bus. There were reports that police fired teargas shells at the protesters.
Police also fired teargas shells at protesters on Rawalpindi's Murree Road.
Reacting to the “illegal” move, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi disapproved of his party chief’s arrest. “The entire nation should immediately take to the streets,” he said asking everyone to come out in protest.
Taking to Twitter, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar condemned the arrest and announced that a committee will announce the next plan of action.
“Pakistan's biggest political leader arrested after attack on the high court. The whole world is shown that there is no law left in the country,” he said.
Umar said that the party’s six-member committee, formed by Khan and headed by Shah Mehmood Qureshi, will announce PTI’s plan of action.
PTI leader Murad Saeed, in an audio message via PTI’s official Twitter account, claimed that Khan has been tortured and arrested. He asked supporters, particularly youth, to step out to protest against the PTI chief’s arrest.
“It’s time free Pakistan from these oppressors and false gods. It’s time for Haqeeqi Azadi. Come out to the places you’ve been asked to arrive at,” he said.
The former prime minister, along with his wife Bushra Bibi and other PTI leaders, is facing a NAB inquiry related to a settlement between the PTI government and a property tycoon, which reportedly caused a loss of 190 million pounds to the national exchequer.
As per the charges, Khan and other accused allegedly adjusted Rs50 billion — 190 million pounds at the time — sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to the government.
They are also accused of getting undue benefit in the form of over 458 kanals of land at Mouza Bakrala, Sohawa, to establish Al Qadir University.
This is a developing story and is being updated with the latest information...