Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is taken into a vehicle by police as they arrest him, in Islamabad, Pakistan May 9, 2023. — Reuters

Pakistan Army has ‘no link’ with Imran Khan’s arrest

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Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is taken into a vehicle by police as they arrest him, in Islamabad, Pakistan May 9, 2023. — Reuters 
  • Sources accuse PTI of continuously inciting people toward violence.
  • Agencies enforcing law will continue to show restraint, sources say.
  • Sources advise people to stay away from “evil, disruptive elements”.

ISLAMABAD: Following the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), government sources have confirmed that the country’s military forces have nothing to do with the arrest of the political leader.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested Khan on Tuesday in accordance with the law, which has no connection whatsoever with the Pakistan Army, the sources said.

On Tuesday, the PTI chief was arrested as part of the accountability watchdog’s investigation in the Al-Qadir Trust case ahead of his appearance before the IHC to seek bail in multiple FIRs registered against him.

Following his arrest, protests and demonstrations broke out in various cities of the country.

Referring to these protests — many of which turned violent — the sources added that some “nefarious leaders of PTI incited their misguided workers and caused unnecessary damage to government properties and military installations and buildings, using their agitation and pressure tactics to further their political agenda”.

The sources added that some PTI leaders were continuously inciting people toward violence.

“Such an act cannot be tolerated in any case and will be dealt with according to the law,” they said.

However, the sources said, despite the dissemination and violence by the PTI leadership and their unlawful actions, the agencies responsible for enforcing the law showed complete restraint and will continue to do so.

However, some PTI leaders continue to use the strategy of agitation and pressure on people to further their political gains, which is unacceptable and will be dealt with according to the law.

They advised people to stay away from such “evil and disruptive elements”.

“Such extremist elements and their patrons will be dealt with in accordance with the law, and no miscreant can be allowed to destroy the peace and tranquility of the country,” the sources said.

Khan’s arrest comes a day after the powerful military rebuked him for repeatedly accusing a senior military officer of trying to engineer his assassination and the former armed forces chief of being behind his removal from power last year.

Dozens of paramilitary troops in riot-control gear surrounded Khan — Pakistan’s most popular leader according to opinion polls — and led him into a black van by his arm.

Authorities in three of Pakistan’s four provinces imposed an emergency order banning all gatherings after Khan’s supporters clashed with police, blocked major roads in a string of cities and stormed military buildings in Lahore and Rawalpindi, according to witnesses and videos shared by his party.

Khan, 70, a cricket hero-turned-politician, has shown no sign of slowing down since being ousted in April 2022 as prime minister in a parliamentary no-confidence vote — even after being wounded in a November attack on his convoy as he led a protest march to Islamabad calling for snap general elections.

His arrest came at a time when Pakistanis are reeling from the worst economic crisis in decades, with record high inflation and anaemic growth. An International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package has been delayed for months even though foreign exchange reserves are barely enough to cover a month’s imports.

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