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Pakistan: Former Prime Minister Imran Khan arrested, tense protests in Karachi and Lahore

Pakistan’s Anti-Corruption Agency on Tuesday arrested former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad’s High Court. This impressive operation could cause further unrest in Pakistan. Arrest footage shows dozens of guards in riot gear surrounding Khan to put him into a black van.

The former cricketer and jet-setter, who became prime minister of the world’s fifth most populous country (population 233 million) in 2018, until June last year, relatives said, came to court for a biometric procedure. .

Since Imran Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote last year, he has faced numerous allegations, including corruption, all of which he denies as being politically motivated by the Pakistani military. He continues to call for early general elections and was wounded in November during a protest march in Islamabad.

The arrest comes when Khan accuses a senior Pakistani military intelligence officer, the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (IS), of being involved in his assassination attempt. He also blames Major General Faisal Nasir for the assassination of prominent Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya last October.

Akbar Nasir Khan, a senior Islamabad police officer, told Al Jazeera that Khan was arrested under a May 1 warrant issued by the National Anti-Corruption Authority for Accountability in the Al Qadeer Trust case. Pakistani Home Minister Rana Sanaullah tweeted that Mr Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for not appearing before him “despite notifications” and for “damaging the national treasury”. “No violence was committed,” he wrote. He then told reporters that the NAB is an independent board over which the government has no control.

“Rangers broke in and kicked out the door and window. They lifted Imran Khan from his chair, hit him on the head and kicked him,” said former Prime Minister Gohar Ali Khan’s lawyer in a video posted to the media. Khan’s Party. “I fell during the turmoil. The Rangers sprayed him with pepper spray and took him away,” the lawyer added. According to him, there was not a single police officer in the room at the time of the arrest. Fawad Chaudhry, leader of the PTI, tweeted that the High Court complex in Islamabad was “occupied” by rangers and lawyers were “tortured”.

“Your time has come, people of Pakistan. Khan has always stood up for you, now is the time to stand up for him,” PTI wrote on Twitter. Previous attempts to arrest Imran Khan at his home in Lahore have so far resulted in violent clashes between his supporters and law enforcement. Tensions could become even more acute as Pakistanis suffer from inflation the likes of which have not been seen in decades, further increasing the ranks of the poor.

AFP correspondents in Lahore in the east reported water cannon fire, and in Karachi in the south, police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators responding to the PTI call. A lengthy Twitter debate has pitted Khan’s relatives against current Pakistani Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif on Twitter.

The alleged Al-Qadir Trust corruption case is one of dozens of cases brought against the former Pakistani leader. Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, are accused of embezzling tens of millions of rupees from a fund set up to collect donations and found Al-Qadeer University in the Punjab.

Source: Le Parisien

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