Imran Khan’s arrest: ‘US does not have position…calls for respect of democratic principles’, White House on Pakistan

Protests erupted across Pakistan on Tuesday after former Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested during a court appearance in the capital city. PTI supporters laid siege to military sites, pelted stones, blocked roads and burned banners and tyres.

The US State Department spokesperson said, “We are aware of the arrest of former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan. As we have said before, the United States does not have a position on one political candidate or party versus another. We call for the respect of democratic principles and the rule of law around the world.”

“We just want to make sure that whatever happens in Pakistan is consistent with the rule of law, with the constitution,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a joint news conference in Washington.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stressed “We want to see peaceful democracy in that country. We want to see the rule of law adhered to.”

Brad Sherman, an American lawmaker of the Democratic Party, took to Twitter and expressed concern over the arrest of former Prime Minister

In his tweet, Congressman Sherman emphasized America’s dedication to democracy, the rule of law in Pakistan, US support for human rights and free speech worldwide.

To address the issue, Congressman Sherman spoke to Voice of America Urdu and requested that Imran Khan be broadcasted live to assure his supporters that he is safe.

He tweeted, “Just spoke to @voaurdu – they will edit the tape and broadcast. Called for #ImranKhan to be live-streamed so people know he is safe, and for him to have access to attorneys and family.”

Expressing concerns over the images of Khan’s arrest, the lawmaker emphasized the arrests made seem inconsistent with the “claim that this is just about a corruption case.”

Brad Sherman tweeted, “My advisor @DrMahmood40 tells me PTI leaders and workers are being arrested around #Pakistan. This would seem inconsistent with the claim that this is just about a corruption case. In a democracy, elections are held on time and the winners are allowed to govern.”

The Indian defence forces are also keeping a close watch on the situation in Pakistan, sources said. They also said that a strong vigil is being maintained by the Army along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border.

Meanwhile, Section 144 has been imposed in several areas and police resorted to firing tear gas and water cannons to counter the PTI supporters. Social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook were also suspended in various parts of Pakistan on Tuesday night amid protests.

According to the charges, Imran Khan and other accused allegedly adjusted Rupees 50 billion – 190 million pounds at the time sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to the government, Geo News reported. The cricketer-turned-politician registered Trust for Al-Qadir University Project on December 26, 2019.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday termed former Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s arrest “legal,” Geo News reported. IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, who had raised questions over the Rangers’ move to arrest Imran Khan from the court’s premises on Tuesday announced the reserved verdict.