‘Alarmed, shocked’ over current situation after Imran Khan’s ‘arrest and manhandling’: Pakistan President Arif Alvi

Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Thursday expressed distress over the political turmoil and unrest in the country following the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan.

pakistan, imran khan
People look at a car burnt in Wednesday's clashes between police and the supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan, at a road, in Peshawar on Thursday. (AP/PTI Photo)

Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Thursday expressed distress over the political turmoil and unrest in the country following the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan and urged all concerned to look for political solutions, rather than coercion and arrests.

Khan, 70, was arrested in a corruption case on Tuesday on the orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by paramilitary Rangers, who barged into a room of the Islamabad High Court where the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief was present for biometrics before the hearing of a corruption case.

Also read: Pakistan arrests Imran Khan’s party leaders as army deployed to quell unrest

Alvi, who was a member of Khan’s PTI party before he became Pakistan President in 2018, in a long Twitter statement said that he was “alarmed, shocked & deeply disturbed over the current situation in the country”.

The violent protests have left at least eight people dead and nearly 300 others injured in clashes between protesters and law enforcement agencies and prompted the authorities to deploy the army in the country’s capital Islamabad, as well as in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces to maintain law and order.

According to reports, Lahore and Peshawar faced the worst situation with incidents of arson and firings.

“The loss of human lives as an aftermath is heart-wrenching, regrettable, unfortunate & highly condemnable,” Alvi’s tweet read.

Acknowledging protests to be every citizen’s constitutional right, he said that it should “always remain within the bounds of the law.” “The way some miscreants have damaged public property, particularly government and military buildings, is condemnable. We must re-think & look for political solutions, rather than coercion & arrests. I have conveyed my concerns to the political & military leadership & am hopeful that the situation can improve,” the tweet added.

“I strongly appeal to all citizens of the country to remain peaceful,” the tweet concluded.

Pakistan’s former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a close aide of ousted prime minister Imran Khan was also arrested on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has said that Imran Khan’s arrest by the National Accountability Bureau from the court without the permission of the registrar is tantamount to denying access to justice without fear and intimation, which is the right of every citizen.

Also read: Former Pak PM Imran Khan arrested; Know about other PMs arrested in Pakistan

“If an individual surrendered to the court, then what does arresting them mean?” the chief justice said on Thursday while directing the anti-corruption watchdog to produce Khan within an hour and holding it guilty for “contempt of court”.

Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

He is the only Pakistani prime minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

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First published on: 11-05-2023 at 18:45 IST