Pakistan Latest: Arrests Ordered After Imran Khan Release

(Bloomberg) -- Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered the arrest of violent protesters and their backers after former premier Imran Khan’s arrest last week that fueled unrest across the country.

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Sharif gave security officials three days to arrest all those involved in planning and ransacking public and private properties. Angry protesters clashed with security forces and attacked military and state buildings that left at least eight people killed and hundreds injured.

“We will create an example out of the miscreants who vandalized and attacked state institutions so that such an incident never takes place in Pakistan again,” said Sharif in a press conference. “They are no lesser than terrorists.”

Khan, 70, was picked up by dozens of paramilitary troops last week and handed over to the anti-graft agency. The Supreme Court ordered Khan’s release, describing his arrest as illegal. The government slammed that decision, signaling the showdown is far from over.

The former cricket star was granted bail in eight cases against him and broad protection from arrest on Friday, amid concerns the government will find other cases in which to arrest him.

Key Developments

  • Pakistan Is Caught Between the Army and Imran Khan: Mihir Sharma

  • IMF Says Pakistan Will Scrap Controversial Fuel Subsidy Proposal

  • Khan’s Arrest Could Worsen Pakistan’s Crisis

  • Khan Supporters Rally in London for Ex-Pakistan PM’s Release

(All times Pakistan local)

Imran Khan Says Democracy Hanging by Thread (8 p.m.)

Imran Khan in his first speech since the arrest said the nation’s democracy is hanging by a thread and the judiciary can save it from the ruling coalition. Khan thanked the judiciary for the relief.

Khan asked the nation to protest for one hour at 5:30 p.m. local time on May 14. He also plans to start election campaigning later this week. The nation is scheduled to have elections later this year.

Pakistan Plans to Arrest Violent Protesters (5:30 p.m.)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has given security agencies three days to arrest violent protesters and those who facilitated them, he said in a press conference.

All those people who have been identified with evidence inciting violence and damaging public property will be arrested, interior minister Rana Sanaullah said in a separate briefing. The first day of protests after Khan’s arrest had seen as many as 45,000 people take the streets. That dwindled to about 8,000 on the third day.

Pakistan Restores Internet (11:03 p.m.)

Pakistan will restore mobile broadband services on the orders of the interior ministry, Malahat Obaid, spokesperson for regulator Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, said by phone.

Khan to Seek Bail in Lahore on May 15 (9:45 p.m.)

Khan is scheduled to appear at Lahore High Court on May 15 to seek bail in pending cases, his lawyer Intazar Hussain Panjhuta told Bloomberg at the court in Islamabad.

Khan has received bail in a total of eight cases and a stay in the case for selling state gifts, said Panjhuta.

Stock Market Rises (3:14 p.m.)

Pakistan’s benchmark KSE-100 Index rose by 0.7% after Khan was granted bail. The market sees the decision as something that will calm the situation temporarily, said Faisal Bilwani, head of international sales at Alfalah CLSA Securities Pvt.

Khan Granted Bail Over Corruption Case (3:10 p.m.)

Islamabad High Court grants Khan two weeks bail at the hearing into a land corruption case. “The court asked the government lawyers multiple questions but they could not respond,” Khan’s lawyer Intazar Hussain Panjhuta, said by phone, adding the next hearing is in two weeks.

Police from Punjab Province Seek Imran Khan’s Arrest (1:30 p.m.)

Imran Khan’s lawyer said police from Pakistan’s most populous province have been sent to Islamabad to arrest the 70-year-old politician.

“We say treat Imran Khan as per the Supreme Court’s order,” said Babar Awan, who is a part of Khan’s legal team. “This will be unconstitutional if Punjab police arrested Imran Khan from here in a new case.”

Dawn News TV said police from Punjab’s capital Lahore were on their way to the court to arrest Khan over a number of cases registered against him. The joint investigation team probing allegations against him informed the Islamabad High Court of its intentions, the news outlet said.

Punjab and Lahore police officials didn’t immediately respond to calls for a comment.

Court Breaks for Friday Prayers After Two Hours of Delays (1:00 p.m.)

Friday’s proceedings have been delayed, first as security and bomb disposal units scanned the court complex and later as the venue was shifted from one room to another.

Finally the court broke for afternoon prayers. It’s not immediately clear when judges will reassemble to hear Khan’s appeal for bail in the land graft case that led to his arrest.

Khan Appears Before Islamabad High Court (11:45 a.m.)

Imran Khan was brought in under heavy escort from the police guest house where he stayed for a night after he was released.

The courthouse was surrounded by dozens of security officers in riot gear while barbed wire was placed at the entrance. Shipping containers were placed all around to seal the entire court compound.

Court Puts Imran Khan’s State Gifts Case on Hold (11:23 a.m.)

A Pakistani Court has put on hold Imran Khan’s trial on charges of hiding earnings from the sale of state gifts.

The scheduled hearing for Saturday will not go ahead, according to his lawyer Gohar Ali Khan.

The court had formally charged Khan earlier this week. The politician has denied all the charges.

Court Seeks Government Reply on Mobile Internet Suspension (10:30 a.m.)

The Lahore High Court is seeking a response from the government and the Pakistan Tele­communi­cation Authority on a petition challenging the suspension of internet services and access to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Pakistan’s Rupee Rebounds (9:56 a.m.)

The local currency rose sharply after touching an all-time low for the past two days following a drop in dollar demand.

The currency rose by 4.7% to 285 a dollar after the open, according to data from the foreign-exchange desk at Arif Habib Ltd.

Pakistan’s Rupee Rebounds Sharply After Dollar Demand Eases

Pakistan Minister Dismisses Talk of Emergency Rule (1:00 a.m.)

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has dismissed talk of a state of emergency being imposed on Pakistan, saying it was business as usual. She too criticized the ruling by the country’s top court to release Imran Khan from the custody of the anti-graft agency.

She told a local television program that police have gone after the mobs that attacked military and state buildings after Khan was arrested.

Police Warn Against Public Gatherings in Islamabad (12:23 a.m.)

Police in the capital warned that the Section 144 ban on public gatherings is still in force and asked “political workers not to obstruct” the legal processes in the courts.

Defense Minister Says Court Ignoring Attacks by Khan’s Supporters (11:40 p.m.)

Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the Supreme Court wasn’t taking into consideration the attacks on military and state properties by supporters of Imran Khan when it ordered his release. He called the order a special reprieve for Khan during a media conference.

Imran Khan to Address Supporters on a Highway in Islamabad (11:30 p.m.)

His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has called on supporters to gather at a highway in the capital on Friday to show solidarity. Imran Khan is supposed to show up after his court appearance in the morning, the party said in a tweet.

Interior Minister Vows to Arrest Imran Khan Again (10:51 p.m.)

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the authorities will arrest the political leader, without giving details.

This depends on whether Khan can get bail from the Islamabad High Court on Friday. If he doesn’t succeed, this would be the first opportunity for the authorities to arrest him.

Pakistan in a Very Challenging Situation, IMF Says (8:00 p.m.)

Pakistan faces very large financing needs, International Monetary Fund spokeswoman Julie Kozack said in a briefing. Both sides are engaged to make progress in the loan review, she added.

The financing committed by Pakistan’s external partners is a welcome sign but significant additional funds are essential to complete the loan review, Kozack said. Pakistan has previously said Saudi Arabia has committed to a new loan of $2 billion and United Arab Emirates has pledged $1 billion.

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