Pakistani security agents arrested former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday as he appeared in a court in the capital, Islamabad, to face charges in multiple graft cases, officials from his party said.
Khan was dragged outside and pushed into a police vehicle by agents from the country’s anti-corruption body, the National Accountability Bureau, according to Fawad Chaudhry, a senior official with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
Chaudhry denounced the arrest as “an abduction.”
Pakistan’s independent GEO TV broadcast images of the 72-year-old Khan being pulled by security forces towards an armored vehicle, which took him away.
Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022. He has claimed his ouster was illegal and a Western conspiracy and has campaigned against the government of his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, demanding early elections.
After the former premier was whisked away, a scuffle broke out between Khan’s supporters and police. Chaudhry said some of Khan’s lawyers and supporters were injured in the scuffle, as were several policemen.
Khan’s party immediately complained to the Islamabad High Court, which requested a police report explaining the charges for Khan’s arrest.
Officials from the anti-corruption body said that Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau had issued arrest warrants for Khan last week in a separate graft case, for which he had not obtained bail — something that would protect him from arrest under the country’s laws.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Khan will be brought to appear before an anti-graft tribunal later on Tuesday.
There were no other official statements from the government on Khan’s arrest.
Khan had arrived in Islamabad earlier in the day from the nearby city of Lahore, where he resides, to face charges before the Islamabad High Court in multiple graft cases against him. He has claimed that the string of cases against him, which include terrorism charges, are a plot Sharif’s government to discredit the former cricket star turned Islamist politician.