The arrest of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been pronounced “illegal” by the Supreme Court, clearing the path for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader’s immediate release.
The court order came shortly after Khan was produced in court. He was escorted in a convoy of 15 vehicles amid rigorous security. Khan informed the court that he was “abducted” from the Islamabad High Court premises and was attacked by sticks.
The 3-member bench, which included Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, and Justice Athar Minallah, expressed outrage at the manner in which Khan was taken into custody from the premises of the Islamabad High Court.
Khan was brought before the court under strict security. As he entered the courtroom, it was closed, and subsequently, the bench continued the hearing of the case. “It is good to see you,” Bandial heard saying to Khan. “We believe that Imran Khan’s arrest was illegal,” the judge said.
He also ordered Khan to send an appeal to his supporters to be peaceful in the midst of large violent rallies across the country in response to the detention of the PTI head. The cricketer-turned-politician told the court that his party’s members would remain peaceful and that no harm would be done to the country, claiming that he had no idea what happened following his detention.
Notably Khan was arrested on Tuesday in a corruption case on the orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The country’s armed Rangers stormed into an Islamabad high court room where Khan was present for biometrics before a corruption case hearing.