Pakistan High Court upholds ‘legality’ of former PM Imran Khan’s arrest

Imran Khan has said he is facing over 140 cases (File)


Dashing the hopes of his party, the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday night upheld the arrest of Imran Khan, saying all legal formalities were completed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) while carrying out the arrest of the former prime minister.

The court issued its reserved judgement, upsetting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which claimed that the arrest was illegal and that the IHC would rule in favor of party chief Imran Khan.

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

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq took notice of the arrest by paramilitary rangers when the PTI party chief was present in the court to record his biometric attendance before the start of the hearing in the corruption case.

Imran Khan, 70, traveling from Lahore to the federal capital Islamabad, was arrested after Rangers broke a glass window and thrashed lawyers and Imran Khan’s security staff.

The cricketer-turned-politician’s arrest comes a day after the powerful military accused him of leveling baseless allegations against a senior spy agency ISI official.

The IHC summoned various officials and heard arguments on the merits of the arrest and whether or not it was legal to arrest anyone present inside the court.

The Chief Justice had reserved the judgment after hearing the matter.

The Chief Justice initially ordered the Interior Secretary, Inspector General (IG) Police Islamabad and other officials to respond to the arrests within 15 minutes.

The chief justice said he was showing “restraint” in the matter and threatened to summon the prime minister if the Islamabad police chief failed to appear.

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

IG Akbar Nasir Khan duly appeared before the court and said that Imran Khan was arrested by NAB in the alleged corruption case involving him and his wife Bushra Bibi.

Imran Khan’s counsel Faisal Chowdhary told the court that the PTI chief was illegally arrested when he was present inside the court to record his biometric attendance.

Another lawyer for Imran Khan, Barrister Gohar Khan, claimed that the cricketer-turned-politician was hit on the head with an iron rod and injured in his leg during his arrest.

Imran Khan’s second lawyer Khwaja Harris said that the court should take action against NAB as Imran Khan was arrested from inside the court, which is a violation of the sanctity of the court.

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

Abbasi told the court that the anti-corruption watchdog has the legal right to arrest Khan, who had failed to join the probe in the case.

“The accused can be arrested from anywhere if he shows resistance,” he said.

Advocate Harris opposed the NAB’s argument saying that the arrest was made in violation of rules and the court should take action.

“The court should quash the arrest as it is illegal and NBA should be ordered to release Imran Khan immediately,” he added.

Following Khan’s dramatic arrest, 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.

Imran Khan has been facing multiple cases since he was ousted from power in a no-confidence vote in April last year. He has dismissed all these cases as political harassment by the ruling coalition.

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

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)