Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest has been declared “illegal” by the country’s top court, paving the way for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief’s immediate release. The court order came shortly after Khan was presented in court. He was brought in a convoy of 15 vehicles amid strict security, according to Pakistan’s Geo TV.
Khan told the court that he was “abducted” from the Islamabad high court premises and was beaten by sticks.
The three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah, expressed anger at the way Khan was taken into custody from the premises of the Islamabad high court. CJP Bandial termed Khan’s arrest from the court premises a disgrace to the country’s judicial establishment, Geo TV reported.
Khan was produced before the court amid tight security. As he entered the courtroom, it was closed, and subsequently, the bench resumed the hearing of the case.
“It is good to see you,” Bandial told Khan. “We believe that Imran Khan’s arrest was illegal,” the top judge said.
He also asked Khan to issue an appeal to his supporters to remain peaceful amid the widespread violent protests across the country against the PTI chief’s arrest. The cricketer-turned-politician assured the court that his party workers will stay peaceful and no damage will be done to the country, saying he had no idea what happened after his arrest.
Khan, 70, was arrested in a corruption case on Tuesday on the orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The country’s paramilitary Rangers barged into a room of the Islamabad high court where Khan was present for biometrics before the hearing of a corruption case.
Taking note of about 90 to 100 Rangers personnel entering the court to arrest Khan, the chief justice asked, “What dignity remains of the court if 90 people entered its premises? How can any individual be arrested from court premises?”