Pakistan top court orders Imran Khan’s release

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a setback for the anti-corruption organisation National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Business Today reported.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan said that Imran Khan’s arrest was unlawful and that it would be reversed. The NAB arrested the former premier two days ago from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The apex court earlier directed to produce Imran Khan within an hour.

During the hearing today, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial made some observations that suggested he was not convinced with the way the arrest was made by Rangers – a paramilitary force in the country. About 100 rangers had stormed the court premises and broke the window glasses to arrest Khan on Tuesday.

The CJP said that no one can be arrested from the Supreme Court, a high court, or an accountability court. Imran Khan’s lawyer Hamid argued that according to the law, an arrest cannot be made when an inquiry is still underway. To this, Justice Minallah said that NAB had arrested elected public representatives in the past in a humiliating manner but he said this needed to come to an end. “The act of surrendering to the court cannot be sabotaged,” he said.

Justice Minallah said the real issue was not of the NAB warrant but of the manner in which it was executed. “NAB talks about the implementation of the law but does not act upon it itself.”

NAB had warrants to arrest Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case, in which the former Prime Minister has been accused of favouring a real estate tycoon and making financial gains worth hundreds of crores.

Ahead of the top court order, Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader and Information Minister Marriuyum Aurangzeb said that within 48 hours of physical remand, the SC was indicated giving relief to Imran Khan which she said “is the fastest ever”.

Earlier, PTI leader Murad Saeed warned that party supporters would march to Islamabad if Imran Khan was not released on Thursday. In a video message, he urged the party supporters to hit the road if the former prime minister was not released. “My Pakistanis, I am telling you that if Imran Khan is not released today…take to the streets and change your lives.”

“I want to tell my brothers and sisters that you need to march to Islamabad after Friday prayers tomorrow,” Murad was quoted as saying by Dawn.

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