Pakistan, a country often referred to as a “failed state”, is now looking at a stark future with financial crisis and political instability after Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan arrested today outside the Islamabad High Court.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan was arrested by Rangers personnel from Islamabad High Court (IHC) — acting on National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) warrant.
The PTI chairman was arrested as part of NAB’s investigation in the Al-Qadir Trust case ahead of his appearance before the IHC to seek bail in multiple FIRs registered against him.
The former prime minister, along with his wife Bushra Bibi and other PTI leaders, is facing a NAB inquiry related to a settlement between the PTI government and a property tycoon, which reportedly caused a loss of 190 million pounds to the national exchequer.
As per the charges, Khan and other accused allegedly adjusted Rs50 billion — 190 million pounds at the time — sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to the government.
They are also accused of getting undue benefit in the form of over 458 kanals of land at Mouza Bakrala, Sohawa, to establish Al Qadir University.
It appears Khan got wind of his arrest hours earlier as before leaving for the court the PTI chief said: “If someone has a warrant, they should directly bring it to me. Bring the warrant, my lawyer will be there. I’m ready to go to the jail myself.”
He said, “I am ready to die than live under these duffers, the question is are you ready?”
“My reply to ISPR & attempts by PDM & their handlers to arrest me for two reasons: one to prevent me from campaigning because Insha Allah when elections are announced I will be doing jalsas, two to prevent me from mobilising the masses for street movement in support of Constitution if PDM govt & their handlers refuse to obey the SC & violate Constitution on holding of elections,” said Imran Khan.
PTI chief Imran Khan doubled down on his allegations against a serving senior military officer, who he has accused on several occasions of hatching a plot to assassinate him.
His biting rejoinder comes a day after the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that “irresponsible and baseless allegations” by Imran against the said military officer without evidence were “extremely unfortunate, deplorable and unacceptable”.
During a rally on Saturday, the PTI chairman had once again named a senior intelligence official for orchestrating plans to murder him. “I am on the roads despite verifiable threats to my life. I have already escaped an assassination attempt once. On the second occasion, I was able to sniff out murder planning,” he had said.
This was not the first time the ex-premier has made these claims. After an assassination attempt last year, Imran had held Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and the senior intelligence official as being responsible for the bid to assassinate him and demanded they resign.
In a video message shared on Tuesday, Imran replied to the ISPR and “attempts by PDM and their handlers” regarding his arrest. He said that he was departing for the federal capital as he was scheduled to appear before two courts.
“Before I leave, I want to say two things. Firstly, the ISPR has issued a statement that the institution has been disrespected — the army has been disrespected [by] naming an intelligence officer that has tried to kill me twice.
“ISPR sahib, listen to me carefully. Respect is not [confined] to a single institution; respect should be for every single citizen,” he said.
“This man tried to kill me twice and whenever an investigation is carried out, I will prove that it was this man and there is a whole gang with him,” Imran said, adding that the nation was well aware of who was standing with the officer in question.
“My question is: [Despite being] a country’s ex-prime minister — because this man’s name has come forward — [why was] I unable to register a first information report (FIR)?”
He said that the truth would only surface once an investigation is carried out. “If he was innocent, it would have been revealed,” the PTI chief said, terming the officer in question to be such a “powerful personality” that he was unable to register a case despite being in power in Punjab.
He said that two senior police officials had refused to become a part of the joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the Punjab government to investigate the attack on his life in Wazirabad. “Who was behind it? Who was this powerful?”
He alleged that when the JIT determined that three shooters were involved in the incident, the team itself was “sabotaged” and that four Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials changed their statements.
“The prosecutor general investigated. He said action should be taken against the four because they tried to sabotage [the JIT]. Who was behind them? Who was this powerful?”
The PTI chief further claimed that he would prove that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had taken over the Judicial Complex in Islamabad the night before he went to attend a hearing in the Toshakhana case in March.
He also said that the plan hatched by “Dirty Harry” involved a gang of people, adding that if God willed, he was ready to die at their hands. He ended his video message by calling on the nation to “get ready”.
Islamabad police released a statement quoting Inspector General (IG) Akbar Nasir Khan as saying that Imran had been arrested in the “Qadir Trust case”.
The police chief also said that the situation in Islamabad was “normal”, adding that Section 144 had been imposed in the city and action would be taken against violators.
In a pre-recorded video that comes to post his arrest outside the Islamabad High Court (IHC), he said, “My fellow Pakistanis, when these words of mine reach you I will already be closed inside in an unlawful case. After this, you all should realise that fundamental rights, law and democracy have been buried. Maybe it is possible that I won’t get a chance to talk to you again. That’s why I want to talk about two-three things.”
The pre-recorded video was shared by Ihtisham Ul Haq. Further, the ex-PM urged Pakistani citizens to “come out as “freedom is not served in a plate.”
“I appeal today to everyone that you all have to come out. Freedom is not given on a plate — you have to work hard and struggle for it,” he said.
Meanwhile, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar tweeted that a six-member committee, headed by PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, would determine the next course of action.
“Pakistan’s biggest political leader has been arrested,” Umar said. “The whole world is being shown that there is no law in the country,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the PTI has condemned the arrest of the party chairman terming it an “abduction” by the law enforcement agency and urged the supporters and workers to stage protests across the country.
Reacting to the “illegal” move, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi disapproved of his party chief’s arrest. “The entire nation should immediately take to the streets,” he said asking everyone to come out in protest.
Meanwhile, the IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq took notice of the matter, and summoned the Islamabad IGP and the interior secretary within “15 minutes,” reported Geo News.
He also directed the additional attorney general to appear before the court in 15 minutes and instructed him to immediately find out who was behind the arrest.
“If an inquiry has to be conducted, action will also be taken against the prime minister and ministers,” the chief justice said.
Subsequently, Islamabad IGP Dr Khan appeared at the IHC and submitted a copy of the NAB’s warrant. He said the anti-graft watchdog utilised the help of any law enforcement agency as per its requirements, reported Geo News.
Meanwhile, IHC CJ Farooq inquired from the additional attorney general whether Khan’s arrest was legal. “Where will we stand if the [legal] system breaks down? This matter is related to the functioning of the system,” the judge observed.
Subsequently, the court summoned DG NAB and the anti-graft body’s prosecutor general to appear in person in 30 minutes.
Following the arrest of Imran Khan today, a series of protest across Pakistan including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Karachi, Quetta, Mardan, Bannu, Chilas has been unleashed by the PTI cadres.
PTI activists resorted to stone pelting on houses, offices and vehicles, burning of banners and tyres and blocking roads were reported.
In Faisalabad, a mob pelted stones on Rana Sanaullah’s house. Prominent journalist Talat Hussain informed those PTI protestors are at GHQ in Rawalpindi and the residence of Corps Commander Lahore. “They can be seen vandalising CC residence,” he added.
Talat cautioned, “After the attacks on GHQ and Corps Commander’s Lahore house, anything can happen now. The first target is to deal with the rioters, perpetrators and those who spread them. Time is short and conditions are very bad.”
Protesters in Pakistan have entered compounds of army commanders in Lahore and Rawalpindi according to multiple Pakistan media reports after Imran Khan’s arrest.
Pakistan media reports scenes of absolute chaos at Pakistan Army GHQ. Imran Khan supporters entered the Peshawar cantonment while chanting slogans against the army.
“First reaction against Imran Khan’s arrest is a big procession moving towards Army Headquarters where there is a big chance of violence and killings. Khan was grossly manhandled and almost half-conscious when pushed into a police /Army van. His lawyers were also beaten,” tweeted Shaheen Sebai, an independent journalist.
There are reports of PTI supporters breaking into the residence of a military officer in the cantonment area of Lahore. People are storming the army GHQ in Rawalpindi – the absolute seat of power.
Journalist Murtaza Ali Shah shared this information in a tweet, saying, “PTI supporters break into military officer’s house in Lahore Cantt”.
He also shared a video showing a group of men, some of them with their faces partly covered, entering a gated premises with sticks. They were later seen using sticks to hit walls.
Men in uniform could also be seen on the premise. Protestors storm of Lahore Corps Commanders’ Flag Staff House which was once the house of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
PTI workers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gathered on the streets of Lakki Marwat district under the leadership of provincial party president Dr Muhammad Iqbal against the arrest of Imran.
The PTI supporters resorted to burning tyres and closed down the Indus Highway.
Meanwhile, shutters of shops were closed down by PTI supporters in Peshawar.
Also, section 144 was enforced across Punjab and Islamabad after Imran Khan’s arrest.
PTI protesters also gathered near the Askari Check Post outside the cantonment area in Quetta, reported Dawn.
In Lahore, PTI supporters led by Senator Ejaz Chaudhry gathered at the Liberty Chowk. Dawn.com’s correspondent at the scene said party workers had also closed down Akbar Chowk, Peco Road, Main Canal Road and Faisal Town.
The demonstrators burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the coalition government. Outside Imran’s Zaman Park residence, PTI supporters also tore down government banners.
In Karachi, both lanes of the Sharea Faisal were blocked after PTI MNAs and MPAs blocked the roads.
Demonstrations were also reported in Peshawar’s Hashtnagri.
In Karachi, both lanes of the Sharea Faisal were blocked after PTI MNAs and MPAs blocked the roads. Demonstrations were also reported at the main University Road, near the Old Sabzi Mandi, Banaras Chowk and Al-Asif Square, reported Dawn.