The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday termed the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan as unlawful and ordered his immediate release. The court also directed him to appear before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday for his bail plea in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah, issued the verdict after hearing Khan’s petition against his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday.
The court observed that the NAB had committed “contempt of court” by entering the IHC premises and arresting Khan without permission from the court’s registrar. The court also said that the way the arrest was made was intolerable and violated Khan’s fundamental rights.
Khan was arrested on Tuesday when he arrived at the IHC for biometric verification before filing a petition for pre-arrest bail in the Al-Qadir Trust case, in which he is accused of misusing public funds for his charity organization. His arrest sparked violent protests across Pakistan by his supporters, who blamed the army for his detention.
The protesters also attacked senior officers’ residences and the Pakistan Army’s installations in different parts of the country. On Wednesday, an anti-corruption court sent Khan on an eight-day physical remand to the NAB.