Imran Khan's arrest: Pak high court summons top officials; reserves judgement

Khan's lawyer said former PM was illegally arrested when he was present inside court

Imran Khan Imran Khan

The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday summoned top officials and police officers after paramilitary Rangers dramatically arrested former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan in a corruption case from the court premises but reserved its ruling.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq took notice of the arrest by paramilitary Rangers when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chief was present at the court to mark his biometric attendance before the start of the hearing of a corruption case.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chief, who travelled from Lahore to the federal capital Islamabad, was arrested after the Rangers broke open the glass window and arrested him after beating lawyers and Khan's security staff.

The arrest of the 70-year-old PTI chairman comes a day after the powerful army accused him of levelling baseless allegations against a senior officer of the spy agency ISI. The IHC summoned various officials and heard arguments on the merit of the arrest and if it was legal to arrest someone present inside the court.

After hearing the case, the chief justice reserved the judgment without giving a date for its announcement.

The chief justice initially ordered the interior secretary, Inspector General (IG) Police Islamabad and other officials to come and respond to the arrest within 15 minutes. He added that he was showing restraint in the matter and warned to summon the prime minister if the Islamabad police chief failed to appear.

“Come to court and tell us why Imran has been arrested and in which case,” Justice Farooq said.

IG Akbar Nasir Khan duly appeared before the court and said that Khan had been arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a case about him and his wife, Bushra Bibi, for alleged corruption.

Khan's lawyer Faisal Chaudhry told the court that the PTI chief was illegally arrested when he was present inside the court to record his biometric attendance. Barrister Gohar Khan, another lawyer of Khan, claimed that the cricketer-turned-politician was hit by an iron rod on his head and injured leg during the arrest.

Khawaja Harris, Khan's other lawyer, said that the court should take action against NAB as Khan was arrested from inside the court, a violation of the sanctity of the court.

After hearing the lawyers, the chief justice summoned NAB officials before taking a break. When the court reconvened, Director General NAB Rawalpindi Mirza Irfan Baig appeared with Deputy Prosecutor General NAB Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi.

Abbasi told the court that the anti-corruption watchdog was in its legal right to arrest Khan, who had failed to join the investigation in the case. “An accused can be arrested from any place if resistance is shown,” he said.

Advocate Harris contended the NAB argument by saying that arrest was made in violation of the rules and the court should take action. “The court should annul the arrest as it is illegal and order the NBA to set Imran Khan free immediately,” he said.

Supporters of the former prime minister stormed the Pakistan Army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi and the Corps Commander's residence in Lahore after Khan's dramatic arrest.

Khan has been facing a slew of cases since his ouster through a no-trust vote in April last year. He has rejected all these cases as political victimisation by the ruling alliance.

Currently, Khan has said he is facing over 140 cases related to terrorism, blasphemy, murder, violence, and inciting violence.


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