Imran Khan, the former prime minister of Pakistan and chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was apprehended by the Rangers outside the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday. He was taken into custody in Islamabad as part of a corruption case. Interior Minister of Pakistan Rana Sanaullah stated on Twitter that Khan had failed to appear despite receiving notices, and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested him for allegedly causing damage to the national treasury. Fawad Chaudhry, an aide to Khan, mentioned that Khan’s car had been surrounded, implying his arrest without confirming it.
Azhar Mashwani, another PTI leader, alleged that Khan, who is 70 years old, had been “abducted” by the Rangers from inside the court. The party immediately called for nationwide protests in response. Musarrat Cheema, a PTI leader, shared a video message on the party’s Twitter handle claiming that Khan was being tortured and beaten by the authorities.
Television footage showed the Rangers grabbing Khan by the collar and forcing him into a prison van. A NAB official confirmed to PTI that Khan was arrested in a case involving the transfer of land to property tycoon Malik Riaz and would be handed over to the National Accountability Bureau.
The arrest occurred in the context of heightened tensions between Khan and the Pakistan Army. The military issued a strong statement through its media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), criticizing Khan for making “highly irresponsible and baseless” allegations against a serving ISI officer without evidence. The ISPR denounced Khan’s fabricated and malicious claims as unfortunate, deplorable, and unacceptable. The statement highlighted a pattern over the past year of targeting military and intelligence officials with insinuations and sensational propaganda for political purposes.
Khan’s arrest followed his rally on Saturday where he accused ISI Gen Faisal Naseer of planning his assassination.