The Supreme Court has declared the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case as “illegal”, and has ordered his immediate release, providing a major relief to the party.
The apex court has instructed Khan to appear before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and has sent him to the Police Lines Guest House until then.
Additionally, the court has established that no individual can be arrested within the premises of a court.
However, when the authorities brought Khan before the three-member bench, there was a brief exchange of words between the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and Khan before the order was issued, an hour later than scheduled.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has welcomed the decision declaring Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest “illegal” by the Supreme Court and ordering his release “immediately”. The PTI has been involved in protests that have turned violent, leading to clashes with the police and causing multiple deaths over the last two days. However, the government is reportedly unhappy with the court’s decision.
The Supreme Court’s three-member bench, consisting of Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Athar Minallah, and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, issued the verdict on PTI’s petition that challenged Imran Khan’s arrest.
The petition was filed after the Islamabad High Court had deemed his arrest lawful on the day he was detained, but expressed concerns over the manner of his arrest.
When Khan was brought before the bench, CJP Bandial greeted him and asked him to condemn the violent protests that ensued after his arrest.
“I only seek free and fair elections,” said the PTI chairman in response. He conveyed a message through the media present in the courtroom to his supporters, urging them to avoid causing harm to public and private property.