Pakistan’s supreme court declares Imran Khan’s arrest invalid

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled on May 11 that the arrest of former prime minister, Imran Khan, was “invalid”. This decision was made two days after his apprehension ignited severe protests and deadly clashes across the nation. For his safety, the court ordered Khan to remain in their custody under police protection until his appearance in court the following day.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial informed Khan that his arrest was invalid and that the process must be reverted. He proposed that Islamabad police offer security and that Khan provides a list of his immediate family members and lawyers allowed to meet him at police headquarters. Khan’s request to return to his farmhouse was denied, and he remained in the custody of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, reports Channel News Asia.

Khan’s arrest on corruption charges sparked nationwide unrest, with his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party supporters occupying cities, setting buildings ablaze, and blocking roads. The chaos resulted in at least nine fatalities, injured hundreds of police officers, and led to over 2,000 arrests. Additionally, eight PTI central leadership officials accused of masterminding the protests have been detained.

Security forces used tear gas, water cannons, batons, and riot shields to control the crowds. Army deployment in certain provinces and the capital has been necessary, with the interior ministry placing restrictions on mobile internet services and social media platforms. Schools throughout Pakistan have been closed and exams canceled.

In April 2022, Khan, a former cricket superstar, was removed from power through a no-confidence vote in parliament, having lost the support of Pakistan’s influential military. He has since claimed that the multiple legal cases against him are a ploy by the government and army to prevent his return to power ahead of the upcoming autumn elections. The military has warned against further attacks on state and military facilities and suggested responsibility for potential violence would lie with a group that wants to push Pakistan into civil war.

As Pakistan faces an economic crisis, worsened by ongoing political instability, Pakistanis expressed concerns over the unrest. For example, 45-year-old Syed Muzaffar Shah from Peshawar said that people should protest, but this does not warrant property damage or harm to poorer individuals.

The controversy surrounding Khan escalated following his accusations against a senior military officer regarding an assassination plot. This was met with backlash from the army, who denied the allegations. Challenging Pakistan’s military establishment crosses a red line, and very few politicians have taken such a direct stance against a crucial influencer on domestic politics and foreign policy.

Following the request from the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan’s top anti-corruption agency, Khan was remanded in custody on Tuesday. The agency had accused Khan of ignoring numerous court summons regarding alleged corruption tied to a trust fund he set up with his wife. Khan was later indicted without arrest for allegedly misleading officials about gifts received from foreign leaders while in power.

World News


Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

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