Pakistan Supreme Court orders release of Imran Khan

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the anti-corruption agency to release the former prime minister. Imran Khan from his custody, calling his arrest “illegal”.

Khan’s arrest on Tuesday sparked deadly and widespread protests across Pakistan, prompting the government to call in the army to help restore order.

The directives were issued by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial as the court resumed hearing Imran’s plea against his arrest.

Earlier in the day, a three-member SC court, including the CJP, Judge Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Judge Athar Minallah, ordered the National Accountability Office to present Imran in court.

Authorities have also arrested at least three senior leaders of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party as of Thursday, including a former foreign minister in his cabinet during his tenure from 2018 to 2022.

Some 2,500 people have been arrested and at least 11 have been killed and scores injured after Khan supporters clashed with police in several cities.

Mobile data services remained suspended and schools and offices closed in two of Pakistan’s four provinces. Social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram have been blocked.

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