Thursday, April 18, 2024

Pakistan’s Supreme Court orders Imran Khan’s release

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the anti-corruption agency to release former Prime Minister Imran Khan from its custody, labelling his arrest “unlawful”.

Khan’s arrest on Tuesday sparked deadly and widespread protests across Pakistan, prompting the government to call in the army to help restore order.

The directives were issued by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial as the court resumed hearing Imran’s plea against his arrest.

Earlier in the day, a three-member SC bench including the CJP, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah directed the National Accountability Bureau to present Imran before the court.

Authorities have also arrested at least three senior leaders of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party as of Thursday, including a former foreign minister in his cabinet during his premiership between 2018 and 2022.

About 2,500 people have been arrested and at least 11 killed and dozens injured after Khan’s supporters clashed with police in several cities.

Mobile data services remained suspended and schools and offices were closed in two of Pakistan’s four provinces. Social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram have been blocked.

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