Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency arrested former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday at the Islamabad High Court, in a dramatic move that threatens additional unrest in the nuclear-armed nation as his party called for nationwide demonstrations.
Former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was detained on multiple corruption charges by paramilitary troops who forced their way into an Islamabad courthouse. The dramatic and sudden detention of the former cricket star-turned-leader is the latest chapter in months of political unrest in the nuclear-armed nation since Khan’s ouster last year.
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Khan’s detention comes after the strong military issued a rare public condemnation of the former premier the day before for making false claims against a top military official and the military’s previous leader in an effort to assassinate them both.
How was Imran Khan arrested?
GEO TV reported that Khan will be brought before an anti-corruption court on Wednesday.
According to court documents seen by CNN, Khan was arrested in Islamabad on corruption-related allegations brought by the National Accountability Bureau. As seen in a video provided by his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), paramilitary forces broke a window to get to him before arresting him as he was submitting his biometric data for a court appearance.
A high court in Islamabad has requested an explanation for Khan’s detention on court grounds. After the capture, tensions escalated in major cities.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party called on supporters to “shut down Pakistan”.
“It’s your time, people of Pakistan. Khan has always stood for you, now its time to stand for him,” the PTI wrote on Twitter. PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry described Khan’s arrest as an “abduction” and said he had been “whisked away by unknown people to an unknown location.”
Accused of land fraudulent?
Minister of the Interior Rana Sanaullah informed reporters that Khan was apprehended by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after he failed to appear despite notices. According to him, the allegations against Khan are that he and his wife received land worth up to 7 billion rupees ($24.70 million) from a land developer who was charged by British authorities with money laundering.
He added that British authorities had returned 190 million pounds ($240 million) to Pakistan in relation to money trafficking, which Khan returned to the land developer rather than depositing in the national treasury.
Khan had denied wrongdoing. In a prerecorded statement released on YouTube by PTI following Khan’s arrest, he claimed that he was “detained on incorrect charges.”
“By the time you will receive these words of mine, I will have been detained on incorrect charges, Pakistan constitution, which gives us rights, which gives us democracy, has been buried. Perhaps I won’t get the opportunity to speak to you again,” he stated in the document.
Khan claims in the video statement, “I have always followed the law. I am being apprehended so that I can’t follow my political path for this country’s fundamental rights and for me to obey this corrupt govt of crooks which has been hoisted on us.”
The NAB issued Khan’s arrest warrant on May 1, according to an order seen by Reuters. “Khan is accused of commission of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices,” it said. Since he was ousted from office by a parliamentary vote, more than a hundred corruption cases have been filed against Khan. Four years of his five-year term were served.
In the majority of the cases, if convicted, Khan would be banned from holding public office, with national elections scheduled for November.