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Pakistan: Already jailed, Imran ‘arrested’ for attacks on the military premises

Pakistan: Already jailed, Imran ‘arrested’ for attacks on the military premises

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Virendra Pandit

 

New Delhi: Nearly a month ahead of General Elections to the National Assembly, former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, already behind bars since August 2023, was on Tuesday ‘arrested’ on charges of attacks on the army establishments in the troubled South Asian nation on May 9 last year.

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi had summoned the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder, who is already behind bars in cipher and graft cases, the media reported.

The fresh arrest order, a day after another court issued Khan’s release warrant in the cipher case on Monday, pertains to the attack on the Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi on May 9 last year.

The imprisoned former cricket star-turned-politician attended the court’s proceedings on Tuesday via video link as he could not be produced by Adiala jail authorities owing to security concerns.

During the hearing of the cases, police sought a physical remand of the 71-year-old founder in the GHQ attack case. However, ATC Judge Malik Aijaz Asif turned down the request, Geo News reported.

The judge directed the police to interrogate Khan in Adiala prison, it added.

On Monday, a special court formed to hear cases under the Official Secrets Act had issued his release orders in the cipher case.

Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain issued the release order of Khan, stating that the former premier’s bail had been approved and he shall be released if not wanted in any other case.

Despite this order, Khan remains behind bars because of being arrested in the Toshakhana and the 190 million pound Al-Qadir Trust scandal.

On May 9, 2023, violent protests erupted after Khan’s arrest by paramilitary Pakistan Rangers in Islamabad. Over 20 military installations and state buildings, including the army headquarters in Rawalpindi, were damaged or torched in the violent protests that followed Khan’s arrest in a corruption case.

The party ran into trouble after the May 9 violence by its supporters.

Khan and several of his party leaders have been facing numerous cases since the ouster of his political outfit from power in April 2022 and later in the wake of the May 9 violence.

Khan was ousted through a vote of no-confidence in April 2022. He was incarcerated on August 5, 2023, after an Islamabad court sentenced him to three years in prison in the Toshakhana case. He was lodged in the Attock District Jail to serve his prison term.

Later, his sentence was suspended by the Islamabad High Court, but then he was arrested in the cipher case and remained in the Attock jail on judicial remand. He was later shifted to Adiala jail.

At last count, Khan is said to be facing around 150 cases.

 

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