Pakistan’s top court has ruled the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan was illegal and ordered he be released from custody, according to local reports.
At a hearing at the Supreme Court on Thursday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said: “We believe that Imran Khan’s arrest was illegal.” He ordered authorities to release him “immediately”, according to Geo News.
Earlier in the day the court had ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the anti-corruption body that arrested Mr Khan, to present the 70-year-old before the court after his legal team challenged his detention.
Mr Khan’s lawyer, Hamid Khan, told the court that the former prime minister had appeared at the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday to secure an extension in his interim bail, when dozens of Punjab Rangers personnel, who were acting on the NAB’s warrant, “broke into the courtroom” and arrested him.
“Rangers misbehaved with Imran Khan and arrested him,” Hamid Khan was quoted as saying by Geo News.
After ordering for his immediate release, the Supreme Court directed the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party to report to Islamabad High Court on Friday.
The Supreme Court’s decision came a day after Mr Khan appeared in a makeshift court where a judge ruled he could be held in custody for eight days.
Mr Khan’s dramatic arrest has sparked deadly and widespread protests across Pakistan.
This story is being updated