A government minister announced that Imran Khan was arrested. Supporters of the politician were told to “shut Pakistan down”.
According to reports, Mr Khan appeared in court at Islamabad for corruption charges.
According to the charge sheet, Mr Khan is “accused of commissioning an offence of corruption and corrupt practice under section 9(a), of the National Accountability Ordinance”.
Sky News has verified footage online that shows Mr Khan being led by security officers into an armored vehicle.
This is the next big step in the current political crisis that Pakistan is facing. Protests are taking place across the entire country. Sky News Pakistan has shown videos of civilians breaking into army bases and setting army vehicles on fire in Lahore, Rawalpindi and other cities. It is a politically and socially unsettling 12-48 hour period in Pakistan with the public expressing their discontent toward the military.
Sky News has confirmed that a ‘high level’ meeting of Pakistan Army Core Commanders will take place tonight, after the protests.
The Army Headquarters in Pakistan had issued a memo advising all officers to maintain “extreme vigilance”, and “stay in their units”.
Sky News obtained a memo that instructed army officers to “return to their bases” by keeping a “low profile”.
Officials of Mr Khan’s Tehreek e Insaf said that he was in the custody the security forces. They added that they had complained to the Islamabad High Court which has requested a report from the police about the detention.
Anti-corruption officials spoke anonymously with the Associated Press and said that Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau issued a warrant last week for Mr Khan’s detention in a separate matter, but he hadn’t obtained bail.
Officials from the anti-corruption department confirmed that Mr Khan would appear in front of a court later today.
The caption of the video said that officials were looking for him to stop him from campaigning.
Mr Khan was taken to Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. He was interrogated by the police and had a medical examination before his trial.
The 72-year old was removed from power in the past year and has spent time campaigning to his successor, claiming that his removal was unlawful.
Cordelia Lynch: Analysis
Imran Khan’s arrest will add fuel to a political crisis that is already raging, and could lead to mass protests.
Since months, tensions in Pakistan have been rising. Mr Khan has accused the Pakistani army and the current government of conspiring to harm him.
Now, the stage is set for an important showdown.
The large number of supporters of Mr Khan are already on the streets. They’re outraged at videos showing Mr Khan being arrested and by reports that he was beaten.
On social media, his party PTI framed this as a rallying point.
The government must ensure that his arrest does not play into the hands of the opposition.
The government has always argued that justice should be done.
This major escalation of events could be a political test that both sides will have to pass.
Read more about Imran Khan in
Pakistani police file terrorist charges against the former Prime Minister and his supporters
Pakistani police fires shots and throws petrol bombs at the home of a former Prime Minister
Imran khan accused by Pakistani minister of ‘blatantly lies’ as police clashes again with supporters
Rana Sanaullah, the country’s Interior Minister, said that the arrest was related to money laundering by a UK-based property tycoon. He claims Mr Khan’s fraudulent activity is worth approximately 5bn rupies (PS5.9m).
Mr Sanaullah said that the “corruption”, which was reported through the wife of Mr Khan, had been registered and that there were orders to deal with any supporters who “created a law and order situation” for the politician.
In Karachi, tear-gas was thrown to disperse protesters who supported the former Prime Minister, and police in Lahore also tried to push opposition away.
Raoof Hasan is a leader in Mr Khan’s political party. He called the arrest a “blatant interference by the powers that be in the judicial matters”. Raoof Hasan added: “We have no idea what happened.” He was almost abducted from the Court of Law.”