Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was arrested from outside the Islamabad High Court by Rangers on Tuesday. Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was taken into custody from a court premises in Islamabad in a corruption case.
“Imran did not appear despite the notices, NAB (National Accountability Bureau) has arrested him for damaging the national treasury. No violence was done to them,” interior of Pakistan Rana Sanaullah said on Twitter.
“Imran Khan’s car has been surrounded,” Khan’s aide Fawad Chaudhry had earlier said without confirming his arrest.
Another PTI leader Azhar Mashwani alleged that 70-year-old Khan had been “abducted” from inside the court by the Rangers. He said that the party had given an immediate call for staging protests in the country.
“They are torturing Imran Khan right now […] they are beating Khan sahib. They have done something with Khan sahib,” PTI leader Musarrat Cheema said in a video message on the party’s Twitter handle.
The chairman of the PTI, 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 Khan’s 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 PTI.
He said Khan has been arrested in the Al-Qadir Trust case. “His arrest warrants were issued today morning and subsequently he is arrested,” he said.
“What laws? Courts attacked by Rangers as if invading an occupied land – lawyers & IHC staff also beaten. This is Pakistan today – a fascist State where the High Court has been attacked by paramilitary forces,” Mazari said.
“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.
Khan’s arrest comes a day after the Pakistan Army slammed the former PM for “highly irresponsible and baseless” allegations by him against a serving ISI officer without any evidence as a fresh war of words broke out between the powerful military and the former prime minister.
In a strongly worded statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media wing of the military- also said that Khan’s “fabricated and malicious allegations are extremely unfortunate, deplorable and unacceptable”.
“This has been a consistent pattern for last one year wherein military and intelligence agencies officials are targeted with insinuations and sensational propaganda for the furtherance of political objectives,” it said.
The statement came two days after the 70-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician at a rally on Saturday accused spy agency ISI Gen Faisal Naseer of orchestrating plans to murder him.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took the PTI chief to task for “maligning and threatening” the army and intelligence agencies.