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Imran Khan files defamation suit against Pakistan anti-graft body over 'unlawful' arrest

June 2, 2023 at 8:30 pm

Former Pakistani Prime Minister and Chairman of his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan arrives to appear before Islamabad High Court seeking bail in corruption and other cases registered against him in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 12, 2023 [Muhammad Reza – Anadolu Agency]

Former Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, on Friday said he filed a defamation case against the chief of the country’s anti-corruption agency over his recent “unlawful” arrest, saying the move “adversely affected” his reputation, Anadolu Agency reports.

Khan said he served the legal notice to Nazir Ahmad Butt, a retired military general, seeking $52.8 million in damages.

The ex-Prime Minister, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote last April and has since been campaigning for snap general elections, was arrested from inside the Islamabad High Court on 9 May in a corruption case.

His brief detention, which was later declared illegal, triggered protests and attacks on state and military installations.

READ: TIMELINE – From ouster to arrest: Key dates in Imran Khan saga in Pakistan

Since then, thousands of workers and leaders belonging to Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party have been detained, many of whom have quit the party, or politics altogether. Some of those involved in the violence will be tried in military courts, according to the government.

Khan tweeted that the arrest warrant was issued on a public holiday, and was kept in secrecy for eight days; he was not informed that the corruption case inquiry against him was changed into an investigation, and that the paramilitary force, Pakistan Rangers, used “brute force” while taking him into custody.

“Ulterior motive was to defame me by arresting me … And show the world that I was arrested on corruption charges,” he said, adding that his “credibility has never been questioned”.

The “act of implicating me in a bogus inquiry followed by my illegal and mala fide arrest, have adversely affected my reputation. It has subjected me to ridicule. Therefore, I am well within my right to initiate defamation proceedings,” he said.

Khan is facing more than a hundred cases, ranging from rioting, terrorism and corruption, which he says are politically motivated and meant to boot him out of politics.

Meanwhile, Jibran Nasir, a well-known rights activist and lawyer, was abducted from near his residence in Karachi late Thursday, his wife said.

Journalist, Imran Riaz Khan, continues to remain missing since he was picked up on 11 May, with police having failed to produce him before any court.

READ: Court grants bail to Pakistan ex-Premier Imran Khan in corruption case