The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ruled that the arrest of ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges of corruption earlier this week was illegal and ordered his immediate release.
His legal representatives contended that his detainment from the court premises in Islamabad on Tuesday was unlawful. The apprehension has triggered violent protests across the country, resulting in the deaths of at least ten individuals and the arrest of 2,000 others.
The arrest on Tuesday has amplified the mounting tension between him and the military. As per the orders of the top judge in Pakistan, the opposition leader, who was removed from his position in a vote of no confidence in April of last year, was brought to court.
“Since your detention was illegal, the entire process must be reversed,” declared Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to Mr. Khan. The former cricketer informed the judges that he had been abducted from the High Court and “beaten with sticks.”
Videos showed paramilitary troops taking hold of Mr. Khan, who had been wounded in a gunfire assault last year, and pulling him out from inside the court premises before rapidly transporting him away in an armored vehicle.
According to his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, the charges leveled against him are politically driven. His arrest has infuriated his followers, and in the past two days, there have been numerous instances of violence, including rare assaults on state and military installations.
Among the individuals apprehended are seven senior leaders of PTI, which include former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The police claim that Mr. Qureshi “instigated violence.” However, in a statement, Mr. Qureshi refuted the allegations and encouraged supporters to continue with peaceful demonstrations.