9 May 2023

Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan arrested

10:36 pm on 9 May 2023
In this picture taken on on November 4, 2022, Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan addresses the media representatives at a hospital in Lahore, a day after an assassination attempt on him. - The assassination attempt on Khan and his accusation it was a plot involving a senior intelligence officer has pushed Pakistan into a "dangerous phase", analysts say. (Photo by Arif ALI / AFP)

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Photo: ARIF ALI

Pakistan security forces arrested former Prime Minister Imran Khan at Islamabad High Court on Tuesday, his aides said, in a dramatic move that threatens fresh turmoil in the nuclear-armed country.

Geo TV reported that cricketer-turned-politician Khan was arrested in connection with a corruption case.

Footage of the arrest shared by Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party showed scores of security personnel in riot-control gear whisking Khan away in a van.

Fawad Chaudhry, Khan's aide, said in a video message that the court premises was "attacked" by security forces who arrested Khan.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the arrest.

Khan's graft case is one of over 100 cases registered against him since he was ousted from power in a parliamentary vote in April last year. He served four of his five-year term.

In most of the cases, Khan faces being barred from holding public office if convicted, with a national election scheduled for November.

Khan's party previously vowed to ramp up protests upon his arrest, which analysts say would add to the struggles of a government already hobbled by an economic crisis that has left the nuclear-armed country on the brink of default.

Previous attempts to arrest Khan from his Lahore home resulted in heavy clashes between his supporters and law enforcement personnel.

Political infighting is common in Pakistan, where no prime minister has yet fulfilled a full term and where the military has ruled for nearly half of the country's history.

- Reuters

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs