The United States Department spokesperson has described the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan as an internal matter of Pakistan.
“The cases against Imran Khan and other politicians in Pakistan are an internal matter,” a State Department spokesperson told Dawn when they approached them for comments on the development which lead the Pakistani news headlines on Saturday.
Police arrested the former premier from his Lahore residence after a district and sessions court in Islamabad slapped him with a five-year disqualification and three-year prison term in the Toshakhana criminal case. The court found him guilty of “corrupt practices”.
“We call for the respect of democratic principles and the rule of law in Pakistan, as we do around the world,” the US State Department spokesperson added.
The reaction came as many experts believed that the arrest would further affect the political crisis.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid Zuberi alleged that a rushed conviction and sentencing of the PTI chairman by Additional District and Sessions Judge Humayun Dilawar showed his “bias against Khan”.
Zuberi wondered about the manner in which the PTI chairman was arrested, saying “his arrest is astonishing as the court in Islamabad had not released the verdict and Khan was arrested in Lahore”.
MNA Mohsin Dawar, who has been critical of PTI policies when they were in power, tweeted: “One PM was convicted on an iqama and now another on selling a wristwatch. Politicians get discredited over such trivial matters while (others) get away treason.”
He said: “Politicians keep getting used and then are discarded like Imran Khan. We keep going round and round in circles.”