Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was arrested from outside the Islamabad High Court by Rangers on Tuesday, Pakistan media reported. Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was taken into custody from a court premises in Islamabad in a corruption case, the reports indicated.
“Imran Khan’s car has been surrounded,” Khan’s aide Fawad Chaudhry said without confirming his arrest. Information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb did not immediately respond to news agency Reuters request seeking confirmation of the report.
Another PTI leader Azhar Mashwani alleged that 70-year-old Khan had been “abducted” from inside the court by the Rangers. He said that the party had given an immediate call for staging protests in the country.
“They are torturing Imran Khan right now […] they are beating Khan sahib. They have done something with Khan sahib,” Cheema said in a video message posted on the party’s Twitter handle.
Khan’s arrest comes a day after the Pakistan Army slammed the former PM for “highly irresponsible and baseless” allegations by him against a serving ISI officer without any evidence as a fresh war of words broke out between the powerful military and the former prime minister.
In a strongly worded statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media wing of the military- also said that Khan’s “fabricated and malicious allegations are extremely unfortunate, deplorable and unacceptable”.
“This has been a consistent pattern for last one year wherein military and intelligence agencies officials are targeted with insinuations and sensational propaganda for the furtherance of political objectives,” it said.
The statement came two days after the 70-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician at a rally on Saturday accused spy agency ISI Gen Faisal Naseer of orchestrating plans to murder him.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took the PTI chief to task for “maligning and threatening” the army and intelligence agencies.
(With inputs from agencies)