Pakistan’s police detain vice-chairman of Imran Khan’s incarcerated party
The vice-chairman of the political party led by imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been apprehended by Pakistani authorities. This incident marks another step in the broadening crackdown on the party that once held power.
Over the past few months, law enforcement agencies have conducted a series of arrests aimed at Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. This has resulted in the detention of numerous supporters and high-ranking members of the party, effectively diminishing its grassroots influence.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a former foreign minister under Khan’s leadership, was taken into custody in the capital city of Islamabad. His arrest followed a press conference during which he criticized the authorities for postponing elections.
A spokesperson from PTI, who chose to remain anonymous, confirmed the arrest, stating, “He was apprehended at his residence in Islamabad by the local police. We are awaiting further details.”
Imran Khan, renowned for his prior career as an international cricket star before entering politics, found himself incarcerated earlier this month. He was convicted on corruption charges, one of the more than 200 legal cases he has faced since his removal as Prime Minister through a no-confidence motion in April 2022.
This three-year prison sentence also entails his disqualification from participating in future elections. However, history has shown that many politicians, such as outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and former Premier Nawaz Sharif, have managed to overturn their convictions and stage a political comeback.
Shehbaz Sharif’s somewhat fragile coalition government, which succeeded Khan’s administration, dissolved the parliament recently. This paved the way for a transitional government led by relatively unknown politician Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, who will steer the nation until the upcoming elections.
While the constitution dictates that elections are to be held within 90 days, there has been widespread speculation regarding potential delays. The government and military are grappling with the complex task of stabilizing the nation, which is facing a convergence of security, economic, and political challenges.
The most recent national census data was finally published earlier this month. The outgoing government has indicated that the election commission requires additional time to adjust constituency boundaries in light of this new data.