Rangers have arrested PTI chief Imran Khan from the premises of the Islamabad High Court in the Al Qadir Trust case amid a scuffle between the lawyers and the Rangers personnel. Khan’s counsel claimed that they were not shown any arrest warrants by the law enforcement agency.
PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Aaj News that the PTI chief was taken into custody when he was in the court’s diary room for his biometrics. He claimed that Khan’s arrest was part of the “London plan”.
Footage showed that a large number of paramilitary personnel were outside the room where Khan was sitting. They broke the glasses and tried to barge into the room.
Khan was taken into the armored vehicle before being transported to another location. Meanwhile, the IHC took notice of Khan’s arrest and summoned both the additional attorney general and inspector general of Police Islamabad.
The Islamabad police confirmed the arrest in a tweet. The police added that he was shifted to the NAB office in Rawalpindi.
The Islamabad police IG described the conditions as “normal”, adding that Section 144 was in force and action would be taken in case of violation.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah tweeted that NAB has arrested the PTI chief for “damaging” the national treasury. No violence was done to them, he claimed.
“Islamabad High Court has been seized by Rangers,” said PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, adding that lawyers were being tortured. Khan’s car has been surrounded, he added.
“Imran Khan has been whisked away by unknown people to an unknown location, CJ Islamabad High Court has ordered Secy interior and IG police to appear within 15 min in the court,” he said in a tweet.
The first image of the PTI chief showed scores of security personnel in riot-control gear whisking Khan away in a van.
Aaj News Islamabad Bureau Chief Tariq Chaudhry said there are reports that Khan has been arrested in the Al Qadir Trust NAB case. The government later confirmed such reports.
The Al Qadir Trust case involves the allotment of a vast tract of land in favour of Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi near Islamabad.
Khan’s relative Saifullah Niazi had also confirmed the arrest.
A heavy contingent of police, Rangers, and the FC was present outside the court. At least two armored cars were brought outside the court. Clash were reported between police personnel and Khan’s bodyguards. Khan’s bodyguard and lawyer were reported to be injured in the scuffle.
PTI leader Shireen Mazari described it as “state terrorism”. She said: “Law of the jungle in operation. Rangers beat the lawyers, used violence on Imran Khan, and abducted him.”
PTI leader Shafqat Mahmood condemned the arrest of Khan from court premises in Islamabad.
“He was also manhandled and mistreated. This is height of fascism and totally unacceptable. Rule of law in the country is over,” he said.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that there was nothing like a political vendetta against Khan, reiterating that the former PM was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau on Tuesday in the Al Qadir trust case.
“The case involves money laundering of £190 million by a property tycoon,” he said at a press conference.
Warrant was issued a week ago
The former prime minister was arrested under a warrant issued over a week ago, however, apparently Khan and his associate didn’t know about its existence.
A copy of the warrants available with Aaj News shows that it was issued on May 1, 2023.
The warrant issued by the chairman of NAB, Lt Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmed, said that Imran Khan “shall be produced before the court for authorization of detention for such period as may be necessary for the finalization of the inquiry investigation.”
Khan’s address before arrest
A Reuters witness said shortly after Khan entered the gate of the Islamabad High Court, contingents of paramilitary forces and armoured personnel carriers entered after him.
The gate was blocked by the armoured vehicles while Khan was whisked away shortly after under heavy security, the witness added.
NAB seeks 14-day remand of PTI chief
The national graft buster has sought 14-day remand of PTI chief Imran Khan.
‘All Rangers men barged into court’
PTI lawyer Gohar Khan said that they had filed two writ petitions against the NAB in a case pertaining to the Al Qadir Trust. He said that the inquiry was converted into an investigation.
“We were done with the writ petitions filed. Khan Sb was brought in for biometrics, when he entered, he was in a wheelchair. All men of Rangers broke the main gate of the high court, broke the glasses and after that, they broke everything, windows and tore apart everything and then broke the house,” he said in a video.
“I and Bukhari Sb were together. They directly paper-sprayed us and started shelling. They took Khan Sb from there and hit him on the head and kicked him and hit him on his injured leg,” he said.
Angry Gohar said yes when reporters asked if Khan was in a wheelchair. He was still in a wheelchair, the lawyer reiterated.
He confirmed reports that the PTI chief was tortured. “I have seen that. Khan Sb was hit on the head,” Gohar said, adding that the people who arrested Khan were all Rangers men.
He described that the former prime minister was hit with a hard object and his wheelchair was thrown away.
Gohar was almost unconscious after “he was hit” adding that a high court employee, Rizwan Kamil, picked him up. Khan was shoved and taken out of the court, he said and supported his claims with pictures and videos available to him.
When asked if they were from Rangers, he reiterated his claims adding that all the men were in Rangers’ uniform and they beat Khan’s security team.
Supporters of PTI started gathering in major cities after the party gave the call for protests.
PTI leader Ali Zaidi asked supporters to gather at Shahrah-e-Faisal to protest the arrest.
“It’s time to shut down this country. Everyone must come out on the streets now,” he tweeted.
Imran’s advice to ISPR
PTI chief Imran Khan addressed the spokesperson of the military’s media wing as ISPR Sahab before advising him to take action against the “black sheeps” of the institution.
“ISPR Sahaba when an institution takes action against its black sheeps, it improves its credibility, and institution that arrests those, who do fraud, become strong,” he said in a video message before leaving for Islamabad to appear in court on Tuesday.
The statement was made in reaction to the ISPR’s statement that described Khan’s allegations against an army officer as “fabricated, baseless, and irresponsible.”
Khan was ousted as the prime minister in April 2022 through a vote of no-confidence. Since then, he has been on streets and demanding snap polls. He survived an attempt on his life during a procession last year.
He expressed his concerns over the perception of “defaming” the army. “This is my army, my Pakistan it is not just yours, our army. Probably we care more about it [the army] than you. These acts, shutting the mouth of those who criticises you, this is affecting the institution.”
He advised the administration to not bring personnel of law enforcement agencies to Islamabad to “waste the money”. Khan said he was ready to go to jail if anybody has a warrant. He advised them to send it to his lawyer.
Section 144 (ban on the gathering of people) is in force in Islamabad, the federal capital police tweeted.
“There is no case against me, but I am mentally ready that send me in jail. But my question is are you ready,” he said while asking the government who he thinks is “imported”. A claim that the ruling alliance denies.
He expressed his concerns over the economy and shared the report of Bloomberg, which according to him said Pakistan’s conditions were worst than Sri Lanka.
Khan reiterated his allegations against an army officer, who he has accused of trying to kill him twice.
In a rejoinder, he responded to the ISPR spokesperson that respect was not just limited to any single institution, but to every citizen.
“I am the leader of the country’s biggest political party. The nation knows me for 50 years. I don’t have to lie. This man [accused army officer] twice tried to kill me and whenever an investigation is launched, I will prove that this was the person and a whole group are with him and everyone knows this in social media time,” he said and claimed that he was “unable” to name the suspect in the FIR registered after an attempt on his life in Wazirabad last year.
It will be proven when the investigation is launched and the FIR is registered. If he was innocent it would have been proven in the investigation.
He wondered about the reason for the refusal of Gujrat DPO and CCPO CTD to not be part of the investigation. The PTI chairman alleged that the Inter-Services Intelligence took over the judicial complex when he visited the court in Islamabad in March. He alleged that a brigadier was sitting in the complex when they were arriving in Islamabad. He vowed to disclose the name.
“This person’s name and his group were written by [slain journalist] Arshad Sharif’s mother on her son’s death. There was no investigation, no one tried to come forward because they are sacred cows,” said Khan.
In reaction, Information Minister Marriyuma Aurangzeb alleged that the public has come to know about Khan’s “lies and conspiracies”.
“The army does not belong to the one who conducts a dirty campaign against the martyrs of the army, the people does not belong to the one who conspires against the country, makes the people hungry and unemployed,” she said.
The FIR was not registered by “your own” government, she reminded Khan, adding that the president and the-then chief minister of Punjab belonged to the PTI. She advised the PTI chief to take the evidence to court.
‘Chance of arrest’
The interior ministry has given its assent to law enforcement agencies to arrest PTI Chairman Imran Khan, sources said on Monday. But, the party said that the former prime minister still plans to appear in court.
Sources have expressed a high likelihood that Khan could be arrested following his court appearance on Tuesday.
Reports said that the government consulted its allies before reaching the decision and tasking the interior ministry with the arrest.
Sources claimed that police are also planning to arrest major PTI leaders including Asad Umar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Fawad Chaudhry among others.
Khan is set to appear in the Islamabad High Court to secure bail in a case of remarks against institutions at 2:30 pm.
The hearing will be presided over by Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Aamer Farooq. No unconcerned persons will be allowed inside the high court premises and a heavy security contingent consisting of police and Rangers will be on duty. Only people issued special passes will be allowed inside the courtroom
On the other hand, PTI’s Mussarrat Cheema said that despite the threat of arrest Imran Khan still plans on going to Islamabad to appear in court. He is expected to leave Lahore for Islamabad at 6am on Tuesday.
“Imran Khan will appear in court to prove that no one is above the law,” she said, in a tweet posted at 7pm on Monday.
More to follow