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Imran Khan produced before special court; Anti-corruption watchdog seeks 14-day physical remand – Times of India

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog on Wednesday sought a 14-day physical remand of former prime minister Imran Khan as he was produced before a special court inside a high security police facility here for the hearing in a corruption case in which he has been arrested.
The 70-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician was taken into custody by the paramilitary Rangers on Tuesday on the orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by barging into a room of the Islamabad high court where he came to attend a corruption case hearing.
The New Police Guest House located in the premises of Police Lines Headquarters at Sector H-11/1 area of Islamabad was declared as a court for the purpose of hearing two cases against Khan.
The first case is about Al-Qadir Trust allegedly causing more than Rs50 billion to the national exchequer. Khan was arrested on Tuesday in the case, sparking massive country-wide protests by his supporters.
He was produced in the Anti-Accountability court No. 1 presided by judge Muhammad Bashir, the same judge who had convicted former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam in a corruption case of having properties in London. Maryam was later on set free in the case by the Islamabad high court.
However, Sharif’s case is still pending in the high court as he failed to appear before the court.
At the start of the hearing, the NAB lawyers requested the court to grant a 14-day remand of Khan to probe against him the allegation. But Khan’s lawyer opposed the plea and asked the judge to release him as the charges were fabricated.
The judge took a break after the initial hearing and was expected to give his ruling once the hearing would restart.
Khan would also be presented in the district and sessions court where judge Humayun Dilawar would preside over the process. The case is about concealing the proceeds from the sale of state gifts and it was filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan last year.
Citing sources, Geo News reported that a medical report submitted to the NAB showed that Khan has been declared fit and he did not complain of any pain to the doctors examining him.
Elaborate security measures were put in place to stop PTI workers and supporters getting anywhere near the hearing facility. Even the media was not allowed to enter the area and even leading PTI leaders were barred from witnessing the hearing or meeting their leader.
Those not allowed to enter include PTI senior vice president Shah Mahmood Qureshi and secretary general Asad Umar. The two in protest went to the Islamabad high court to file a plea against the police decision to stop them from seeing Khan.
However, before any legal process was launched, Umar was arrested by the anti-terrorism squad of Islamabad police as two new cases have been launched against him for the violence by the PTI protests after the arrest of Khan.
“The most popular leader is being treated like this in this country where the law of the jungle is ruling. The people of Pakistan want to see him being well, the regime must act as per the will of the people of Pakistan,” said a tweet from the party’s official Twitter account.
Khan’s party also filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, challenging the Islamabad high court’s ruling on Tuesday night which backed his arrest.
“An application in the Supreme Court was filed by barrister Ali Zafar and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry challenging the verdict of the IHC against Imran Khan,” the Dawn reported.
The Islamabad high court on Tuesday night upheld the arrest of Khan, saying that all legal formalities were fulfilled by the NAB while carrying out his arrest.
Earlier on Wednesday, Qureshi said the party was working to secure Khan’s release, asserting that arrests and intimidation “will not deter us”.
He told the media while on his way to the Police Lines that protests were expected after the arrest but he called on the people to remain peaceful. “Peaceful protest is your constitutional right, keep it going. But don’t take the law into your own hands,” he said.
Qureshi said that since Tuesday he had been calling on protesters to remain peaceful. He said that he had told the party supporters that the government was looking for excuses to register fake cases against them. “They are looking for excuses to pressure you. Don’t give them the chance,” he said.
Meanwhile, the federal government has decided to deploy the Pakistan Army troops in Punjab to maintain the law and order situation in the most populous province, which witnessed violent protests in several cities following Khan’s arrest on Tuesday.
The decision was taken at the request of the Punjab government, according to a notification issued by the federal government.
“The exact numbers of troops/assets, date and area of deployment will be worked out by the provincial government in consultation” with the army headquarters, according to the notification.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said that internet services across the country will remain suspended for an indefinite period. It confirmed that the decision to block mobile broadband services was taken on the directives of the Interior Ministry.
The services were shut down as protests erupted after Khan’s arrest.
Khan’s party has claimed that at least four people were killed and over a dozen injured in different parts of the country in violent clashes between the security forces and PTI supporters.
In Peshawar, protests and attacks on installations continued on the second day on Wednesday and one person died in clashes between police and protesters in the cattle market at Bacha Khan Chowk in the city.
The enraged protestors entered the Radio Pakistan, Peshawar building and ransacked the offices.
The Peshawar Cantonment and roads leading to Corps Headquarters and house of Corps Commander in Peshawar were sealed. All educational institutes have been closed till Monday.

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