Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan was arrested Tuesday by the Pakistani military’s paramilitary officers when he appeared in two cases in the Islamabad High Court.
Imran Khan is facing allegations of corruption worth $235 million in connection with a land-transfer case involving Al-Qadir University.
The charges were brought by the National Accountability Bureau, the anti-corruption agency of Pakistan.
The former Prime Minister was ousted in April 2022 following a no-confidence resolution introduced by opposition politicians.
Since then, he’s had more 150 charges brought against him, including sedition, corruption, and terrorism.
The cases were filed by opposition party workers in different cities of Pakistan.
Arifa Muzaffar, a political commentator, and CEO of Saaz-o-Awaaz, a Mississauga-based Pakistani channel, said that this arrest is baseless.
“It was absolutely a politically motivated deal. It’s very sad.”
Muzaffar said it reminder her of the similar situation faced by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the former president of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973.
“Of course, it has caused massive unrest in Pakistan. If I look at the history after Bhutto Sahab, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and this is again, it happened this time. And he is the most popular leader in Pakistan,” she said.
Imran Khan has since been the target of many arrest attempts, including an attack on his home in Zaman Park.
After today’s arrest, many protestors came into the streets in solidarity with the former Prime Minister, and many cities were blocked, including Lahore, Faisalabad, and Karachi.
Protestors also marched towards General Head Quarters (GHQ) and Army residence areas in anger after the arrest of Imran Khan.
“This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that people have entered GHQ,” Muzaffar said. “The worst thing is losing trust in our army.”
She suspected some high-ranking officials from the army were also behind this arrest.
Muhammad Umar Farooq, a local restaurant owner, said that the arrest of Imran Khan was not in the country’s favour as it sparked outrage.
Umar said that it was unlawful to arrest someone without a warrant issued by the court.
Umar said that the damage done to public properties by protestors will also increase the economic burden on the people of Pakistan.
Muzaffar said Khan suspected he would be arrested by the new regime, but turned down opportunities to live abroad after being forced from office
“He had an absolute chance to leave Pakistan, go to England, or go anywhere else. But he did not leave the man invested in Pakistan,” she said.